Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) affects more than 4% of the adult population with an even higher prevalence within high-risk groups. Nasal continuous positive air pressure, although considered the current gold standard treatment for SDB, demonstrates poor patient compliance. Alternative therapies, such as palatal surgeries and airway orthotics, lack validated candidacy selection protocols, resulting in varying success rates. Although much has been published over the last several years regarding the effect of these therapies on the upper airway, no publication has presented an accounting of the use of acoustic reflection (AR) to evaluate airway characteristics pre- and post-treatment with these alternative therapies. This article will review AR and our current knowledge base of the pathological airway characteristics that can be assessed through AR. It will include the advantages, limitations, and potential clinical usefulness of this diagnostic modality in the treatment of patients with SDB.
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