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Army's Research Shows Surgery Can Cure Sleep Apnea

Wed, 06/15/2011 - 6:09am

PRNewswire/ This week U.S. Army sleep specialists presented new research at SLEEP 2011, a joint meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. As sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia are increasingly common in soldiers, they have become an important and growing research focus for the Army.

Six in ten soldiers with moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) were cured after undergoing maxilla-mandibular advancement (MMA), a surgery to increase the diameter of the upper airway, according to a study presented today by Lt. Col. Vincent Mysliwiec, MD, Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine and Sleep Medicine Service at Madigan Healthcare System, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Tacoma, WA. The study, titled Surgical Treatment for Adult Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review of High-Level Evidence, was a retrospective review of 37 soldiers who underwent the procedure. Study findings showed that 59.6 percent reduced their apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), a score of OSA severity, by at least half. In fact, 43 percent of total patients had no residual disease at all after undergoing MMA. Only one of the study participants did not experience a clinically significant reduction in OSA following MMA.

"While a CPAP mask and positive airway pressure are the preferred civilian treatment for sleep apnea, it is not well-tolerated in all patients, and may be impractical for soldiers deploying to some locations," said Dr. Mysliwiec. "MMA significantly reduced the severity of sleep apnea for our patients, and improved the quality of their sleep."

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