Nasal Surgery Associated With Improvements in Quality of Life for Those With Sleep Apnea

Nasal surgery to remove obstructions from the airway is associated with improvements in quality of life for patients with obstructive sleep apnea and symptoms of nasal blockages, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by episodes of partial or complete blockage of the airway during sleep, leading to snoring and daytime sleepiness, according to background information in the article. Blockage of the nasal passages also is common in OSA patients, causing fragmented sleep and leading to daytime tiredness and poor quality of life.


Hsueh-Yu Li, M.D., of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, and colleagues assessed 51 consecutive patients with OSA (50 men and one woman, average age 39) and symptoms of nasal obstruction who underwent nasal surgery as initial treatment. Patients completed questionnaires assessing their symptoms, sleepiness, snoring and overall quality of life before and three months after the procedure.


Following surgery, symptoms of nasal obstruction improved significantly, and marked improvement was apparent on scales measuring snoring and sleepiness. A slight improvement also was seen in overall health status.


“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,” the authors write. “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.”


“Our findings substantiate the role of nasal surgery in treating nasal obstruction among OSA patients,” they conclude.


Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008; 134[4]:429-433.