Author(s): Pelttari L, Polo O, Rauhala E, Vuoriluoto J, Aitasalo K,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: The incidence of sleep apnoea is increased in acromegaly. The aim of the study was to determine the occurrence of nocturnal breathing abnormalities and upper airway morphology in acromegalic patients some years after adenomectomy. DESIGN: A case-control study. PATIENTS: Eleven patients with treated acromegaly and two control groups: (1) sleep studies: 197 subjects randomly selected from the population, (2) cephalometry: 27 healthy subjects and 17 patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. MEASUREMENTS: Nocturnal breathing was monitored with a static charge-sensitive bed. The upper airway soft tissues and bone morphology were assessed by cephalometric X-ray photography. The upper airway collapsibility was investigated with dynamic nasopharyngoscopy. Endocrinological investigations were also performed. RESULTS: Nocturnal breathing abnormalities were present in all but one acromegalic patient (91\%), which was far more frequent than in the general population (29.4\%, P < 0.0001). Treated acromegaly was the most powerful predictor of breathing abnormalities, independent of the other significant predictors, age and body mass index. The predominant breathing abnormality was periodic breathing with symmetrically waxing and waning respiratory effort without a major body movement component. Episodes of complete obstruction with repetitive arousals were rare. Except for the longer soft palate, the cephalometric findings were similar to normal. In comparison to obstructive sleep apnoea, the treated acromegalic patients had rather prognathic than retrognathic mandibles. Fibreoptic endoscopy in the acromegalic patients revealed collapsible upper airways at the level of the soft palate, whereas at the base of the tongue little, if any, dynamic narrowing was observed. CONCLUSION: Our study confirms that nocturnal breathing abnormalities are common in treated acromegaly, and may persist years after the removal of the GH secreting tumour. The breathing abnormalities and the upper airway morphology in acromegalic patients after adenomectomy are different from those observed in primary obstructive sleep apnoea, suggesting a different pathophysiology of the airway obstruction.
This article was published in Clin Endocrinol (Oxf)
and referenced in Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy