Clinical staging for sleep-disordered breathing

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2002 Jul;127(1):13-21. doi: 10.1067/mhn.2002.126477.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify prognostic indicators that would lead to stratification of patients likely to have successful surgery for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) versus those destined to fail.

Study design: We retrospectively reviewed 134 patients to correlate palate position and tonsil size to the success of the UPPP as based on postoperative polysomnography results. Similar to our previously published data on the Friedman Score as a predictor of the presence and severity of SDB, the palate position was determined on physical examination of the oral cavity and was graded for each patient. This grade combined with tonsil size was used to stage the patients. Stage I was defined as having palate position 1 or 2 combined with tonsil size 3 or 4. Stage II was defined as having palate position 3 or 4 and tonsil size 3 or 4. Stage III patients had palate position 3 or 4 and tonsil size 0, 1, or 2. Any patient with body mass index of greater than 40 was placed in the stage III group. The results of uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) were then graded as success or failure and success rates were compared by stage.

Setting: Academically affiliated tertiary care referral center.

Results: Stage I patients who underwent UPPP had a success rate of 80.6%, stage II patients had a success rate of 37.9%, and stage III patients had a success rate of 8.1%.

Conclusion: A clinical staging system for SDB based on palate position, tonsil size, and body mass index is presented. It appears to be a valuable predictor of the success of UPPP. Additional studies and wider use of the staging system will ultimately define its role in the treatment of SDB.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Palate / surgery
  • Patient Selection
  • Pharynx / surgery
  • Plethysmography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uvula / surgery