We have studied the predictive importance of neck circumference, obesity, and several radiographic pharyngeal dimensions for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), in 66 patients. OSA was quantified as the mean hourly number of greater than 4% dips in arterial oxygen saturation during sleep. Neck circumference (correlation coefficient (r) = 0.63, 95% confidence interval (C.I.) 0.46-0.76), obesity index (r = 0.54, 95% C.I. 0.39-0.69), hyoid position (r = 0.40, 95% C.I. 0.17-0.59), soft palate length (r = 0.31, 95% C.I. 0.08-0.51), and hard palate-to-spine angle (r = 0.29, 95% C.I. 0.04-0.49), correlated significantly with saturation dips in single regression analysis. In stepwise multiple linear regression analysis (saturation dip rate as the dependent variable), only neck size and retroglossal space were significant independent correlates (total r2 = 0.42, 95% C.I. 0.22-0.61, p less than 0.0001). We conclude that the relationships between general obesity, hyoid position, soft palate length, and OSA are probably secondary to variation in neck circumference.