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Nasal Surgery Helps Ease Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Not only did overall health improve, but study finds snoring, daytime sleepiness reduced

TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Surgery to remove nasal obstructions improves quality of life for people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and reduces symptoms of nasal blockages, according to a study by researchers in Taiwan.

People with OSA experience episodes of partial or complete blockage of the airway during sleep, resulting in snoring and daytime sleepiness.

The study included 51 patients (50 men and one woman, average age 39) with OSA and symptoms of nasal blockage who were assessed before and three months after they had nasal surgery.

After surgery, there was a significant reduction in symptoms of nasal obstruction and in snoring and daytime sleepiness. There was also a slight improvement in the patients' overall health, the study found.

"The degrees of quality of life improvement, compared with the preoperative generic health status, were 30.4 percent for role-emotional (problems with work or daily activities caused by emotional difficulties), 20.7 percent for role-physical, 18.9 percent for vitality, 14.8 percent for mental health, 11.4 percent for generic health, 7.4 percent for social functioning, 1.6 percent for physical functioning, and 1 percent for bodily pain," wrote Dr. Hsueh-Yu Li, of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei, and colleagues.

"These results suggest that, when nasal obstruction in OSA patients was relieved, their generic health improved, and that the effects were especially remarkable in reducing role limitations caused by physical or emotional problems," they added.

The findings "substantiate the role of nasal surgery in treating nasal obstruction among OSA patients," the researchers concluded.

The study was published in the April issue of the journal Archives of Otolaryngology.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about sleep apnea.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, April 21, 2008

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