What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an increasingly common condition where people quit breathing during sleep. A blockage of the airway causes OSA, causing the body to sense a lack of air and wake up to resume breathing.
OSA causes poor sleep quality and is often associated with daytime sleepiness, obesity and hypertension. It is formally diagnosed by a sleep study.
How is obstructive sleep apnea treated?
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is one form of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Patients who use CPAP wear a plastic mask over their nose and/or mouth during sleep. The machine then gently blows pressurized room air through the airway at a pressure high enough to keep the throat open.
Can I have anesthesia if I have obstructive sleep apnea?
It is important to let your anesthesiologist know if you have, or suspect you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Patients with OSA may be more sensitive to some of the medications used during anesthesia.
People with severe OSA may not be suitable for outpatient surgery, and may require observation of their breathing in a hospital setting after surgery. Also, OSA may be worsened after surgery. When possible, your own CPAP machine may be used in the recovery room to help you wake up safely.