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Radiofrequency ablation for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Blumen MB, Dahan S, Fleury B, Hausser-Hauw C, Chabolle F.
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Foch Hospital, Suresnes, France.

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is due to pharyngeal obstructions, which can take place at the level of the soft palate. Temperature-controlled radiofrequency ablation has been introduced as being capable of reducing soft tissue volume and excessive compliance. The aim of the study was to evaluate prospectively the possible efficacy of temperature-controlled radiofrequency ablation applied to the soft palate in subjects with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. STUDY DESIGN: Twenty-nine patients with a respiratory disturbance index between 10 and 30 events per hour, body mass index equal to or less than 30 kg/m2, and obstruction at the level of the soft palate were included in a pilot, prospective nonrandomized study. METHODS: Snoring and daytime sleepiness were evaluated subjectively. Treatment (maximum of three sessions) was discontinued when the bed partner was satisfied with the snoring level. A full night recording was performed at least 4 months after the last treatment. RESULTS: Mean snoring level decreased significantly from 8.6 +/- 1.3 to 3.3 +/- 2.5 on a visual analogue scale (0-10). Daytime sleepiness decreased nonsignificantly. Mean respiratory disturbance index decreased significantly from 19.0 +/- 6.1 events per hour to 9.8 +/- 8.6 events per hour. Mean lowest oxygen saturation value increased nonsignificantly from 85.3% +/- 4.1% to 86.4% +/- 4.4%. Of the patients, 65.5% were cured of their disease. CONCLUSIONS: Temperature-controlled radiofrequency ablation was effective in selected patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. A full-night polysomnography is required after completion of treatment to rule out residual disease.

Laryngoscope 2002 Nov; 112(11): 2086-92

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