Impact of the Nose on Treatment for Sleep Apnea

The slightest increase in resistance in the nose can cause big problems for those people who are being treated for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with either CPAP or a dental device.  This increase can be caused by a lot of different things.  A deviated septum, polyps, large turbinates, broken nose, allergies, etc.  Anything that slows down the flow of air through the nose should be ignored, especially for those with OSA.  Nose breathing is essential; if you are a mouth breather, you should find out why and get that fixed.

Even a tiny reduction in the size of the airway in the nose is critical!  If the size is reduced by only 25%, the flow is reduced by a factor of 16.  If the size is reduced by 50%, the flow is reduced by a factor of 16. This increases the collapse of the airway which leads to OSA.   So you can see that obstruction of the nasal airway is very important to be treated for those people who have OSA.  This can be a big reason why treatment for OSA with CPAP or a dental device may fail.

Therefore, any treatment for OSA should include an extensive examination of the nose.  And if there are any things which reduce flow, they should be treated.  At our office, we incorporate in our examination of patients for oral appliance therapy with a dental device (the comfortable alternative to CPAP) the use of the ECCOVISION rhinometer.  Our office is the only one in the area which uses to ECCOVISION.  The results of this exam may result in a referral to an ENT physician to the flow through the nose to increase the success of our treatment for OSA.

Studies indicate that about half of people with OSA have these issues with their nose.  So if you are one of those patients having issues with their CPAP or their dental device, make an appointment to have a test with our rhinometer to see if your nose is the problem.