Background: Snoring is extremely common in the general population and may indicate OSA. However, snoring is not objectively measured during polysomnography, and no standard treatment is available for primary snoring or when snoring is associated with mild forms of OSA. This study determined the effects of oropharyngeal exercises on snoring in minimally symptomatic patients with a primary complaint of snoring and diagnosis of primary snoring or mild to moderate OSA.
Methods: Patients were randomized for 3 months of treatment with nasal dilator strips plus respiratory exercises (control) or daily oropharyngeal exercises (therapy). Patients were evaluated at study entry and end by sleep questionnaires (Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) and full polysomnography with objective measurements of snoring.
Results: We studied 39 patients (age, 46 ± 13 years; BMI, 28.2 ± 3.1 kg/m2; apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), 15.3 ± 9.3 events/h; Epworth Sleepiness Scale, 9.2 ± 4.9; Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, 6.4 ± 3.3). Control (n = 20) and therapy (n = 19) groups were similar at study entry. One patient from each group dropped out. Intention-to-treat analysis was used. No significant changes occurred in the control group. In contrast, patients randomized to therapy experienced a significant decrease in the snore index (snores > 36 dB/h), 99.5 (49.6-221.3) vs 48.2 (25.5-219.2); P = .017 and total snore index (total power of snore/h), 60.4 (21.8-220.6) vs 31.0 (10.1-146.5); P = .033.
Conclusions: Oropharyngeal exercises are effective in reducing objectively measured snoring and are a possible treatment of a large population suffering from snoring.
Trial registry: ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT01636856; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov.