Korean J Fam Pract.  2021 Oct;11(5):352-356. 10.21215/kjfp.2021.11.5.352.

Differences in Sleep Apnea Pattern According to Obesity: Clinical Study Using Polysomnographic Data

  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Uijeongbu St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Uijeongbu, Korea


The aim of this study was to compare the patterns of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) among obese and non-obese Korean adults, using clinical and polysomnographic data obtained for a polysomnographic study.
A retrospective descriptive study was conducted by analyzing polysomnographic data collected from 86 consecutive patients who underwent a polysomnogram from January 2011 to December 2012. Of the 86 subjects, 69 were diagnosed with OSA (apnea-hypopnea index [AHI] ≥5). These patients were categorized into the non-obese/wide oropharynx group (group W), non-obese/narrow oropharynx group (group N), and obese group (group O), based on body mass index (BMI) and otorhinolaryngological findings.
There was no significantly different parameter among the three groups, although group O showed the highest AHI, followed by group W and by group N. Mean SaO 2 was lower in group W and O than in group N, but not significantly. Although central apnea was more common in group N and O than in group W, there was no significant difference in the number of episodes of central apnea among the three groups.
Based on AHI and SaO 2, this study demonstrated that the OSA of group O was the most severe, followed by group W and group N. Even though obesity was still important for OSA severity, this study also suggested that there might be pathogenic factors other than reduced upper airway in non-obese patients with OSA.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea; Polysomnography; Obesity; Adult
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