Sleep apnoea in patients after treatment of head neck cancer

Acta Otolaryngol. 2009 Nov;129(11):1300-5. doi: 10.3109/00016480802613113.


Conclusions: The prevalence of sleep apnoea among patients following treatment of head and neck carcinomas seems to be slightly higher than in the normal population. The possible importance of tumour treatment features, especially transient tracheostoma, needs further assessment.

Objectives: The epidemiology of sleep apnoea in patients following the treatment of head and neck cancer remains unclear. This study was undertaken to assess the prevalence of sleep apnoea in head and neck cancer patients by characterizing their clinical, anatomical and tumour treatment features.

Patients and methods: Our study examined 31 patients in a prospective non-controlled study using a standardized questionnaire that included the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and a polygraph.

Results: Six of the 31 patients showed a pathologic AHI > or = 20/h. Subjects positive for sleep apnoea more often had a tumour of the hypopharynx or larynx and more often had a transient tracheostoma during cancer therapy. Radiotherapy had no clear impact on the prevalence of sleep apnoea.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Polysomnography
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Tracheotomy