Review article on sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder that involves a reduces or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe. It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway. This results in partial reductions (hypopneas) and complete block (apneas) in breathing that lasts a minimum of 10 seconds during sleep. Most pauses last between 10 and 30 seconds, but some may persist for one minute or longer. This can cause abrupt reductions in blood oxygen saturation. The brain responds to the lack of oxygen by alerting the body, causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing. This pattern can occur many times in one night. The result is a fragmented quality of sleep that often produces an excessive level of daytime sleepiness. Most people with OSA snore loudly and regullarly, with periods of silence when airflow is reduced or blocked. They then make choking, snorting or gasping sounds when their airway reopens. A common measurement of sleep apnea is the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI).
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