To quantitatively evaluate the functional integrity of sensory nerve fibers of the palate in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) using the Neurometer system.
A total of 32 patients with OSA and 18 healthy control patients were included in the study. All participants were selected based on medical history, physical examination, and nocturnal polysomnography (PSG) and divided into two groups. The palatal sensory status of participants was examined with a Neurometer current perception threshold (CPT) system. The system was used to deliver an electrical stimulus at three different frequencies (2,000 Hz, 250 Hz, and 5 Hz) by an investigator blinded to the PSG results.
There were no significant differences in the CPT values of the hard palate between the patients with OSA and control patients at any of the three stimulation frequencies. The differences in the CPT values of the soft palate between these groups failed to show any statistical significance at 250 Hz and 5 Hz. However, the patients with OSA showed significantly higher CPT values of the soft palate at 2,000 Hz than the age-matched healthy control patients (256.56 ± 129.34 versus 372.13 ± 152.06; P = .009).
Our study revealed an impairment of 2,000 Hz-related sensory nerve function of the soft palate among patients with OSA. The CPT test could be a useful tool for the quantitative and selective assessment of the sensory nerve function in patients with OSA. Additional research is required to evaluate the different types of sensory nerve dysfunctions among such patients.
An Y, Li Y, Chang W, Gao F, Ding X, Xu W, Han D. Quantitative evaluation of the function of the sensory nerve fibers of the palate in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. J Clin Sleep Med. 2019;15(9):1347–1353.