The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of somnofluoroscopy in the selection of candidates for uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). Somnofluoroscopy is a lateral fluoroscopic examination of the upper airway with synchronous polysomnography that provides information about the dynamic function of the airway and the level of stenosis or occlusion during sleep. Somnofluoroscopies were performed preoperatively in 26 consecutive patients undergoing UPPP. Preoperative and postoperative polysomnographic data were obtained on each patient. On review of the somnofluoroscopic recordings, two levels of the airway were considered: level 1, above the horizontal plane through the midportion of body of the second cervical disk, and level 2, below this plane. The examinations were then scored for the following: (A) most narrow level of airway during wakefulness, (B) first level(s) of airway to collapse during apnea, and (C) all levels of the airway to collapse during apnea. It was shown that patients whose narrowest part of the upper airway is at level 1 and whose first point of airway collapse during apnea episodes is at level 1 are good candidtates for the UPPP. Only three of 15 patients in this group did not respond to the operation. Patients with other patterns are uniformly poor candidates for this procedure. Results are encouraging but preliminary because of the small number of patients. It appears that somnofluoroscopy is a reliable selection criterion for UPPP in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.
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