What causes sleep-disordered breathing (SDB)?

Updated: Feb 13, 2020
  • Author: Vittorio Rinaldi, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Important clinical risk factors for SDB are as follows:

  • Nasal obstruction
  • Craniofacial abnormalities
  • Mandibular retrognathia
  • Micrognathia
  • Narrowed, tapered, and short maxillary arch
  • Overbite
  • Long soft palate
  • Modified Mallampati grade III or IV
  • Macroglossia
  • Tonsillar hypertrophy
  • Neck circumference more than 17 in. for men and more than 16 in. for women
  • Obesity

Other problems that can contribute to or exacerbate SDB are sedative or alcohol use and poor sleep hygiene.

A very small percentage of patients with SDB have CSA rather than OSA. CSA can be caused by various neurologic disorders or can be idiopathic.


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