The association of OSAS and uvula: the role of MRI in this egg-chicken problem in OSAS

ARAZ Ö., KARAMAN A., Esdur V., Ucar E. Y., Subasi I., ALPER F., ...More

Sleep and Breathing, vol.24, no.2, pp.465-470, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11325-019-01879-3
  • Journal Name: Sleep and Breathing
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.465-470
  • Keywords: Magnetic resonance imaging, Obstructive sleep apnea, Uvula
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is a condition resulting from repetitive partial or complete upper airway obstruction, and its etiology remains uncertain. Polysomnography is the gold standard diagnostic test for OSAS. However, there are long wait times for this evaluation, so questionnaires or ancillary diagnostic methods are used to select appropriate patients. One of these is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The present study aimed to investigate the association between clinical features of OSAS and uvular changes on MRI. Materials and methods: A total of 102 participants, 80 with OSAS and 22 controls, were included in the study. All participants underwent full-night polysomnography, MRI, and anthropometric measurements. Results: In comparisons of MRI measurements of the uvula, statistically significant differences in uvular length, thickness, and angle were observed between the OSAS and control groups. MRI measurement significantly associated with apnea–hypopnea index was uvular thickness. Evaluation of anthropometric and MRI measurements revealed statistically significant associations between waist circumference and uvular thickness, uvular width, and oropharyngeal space among the OSAS patients. Conclusion: Thickened uvula on MRI is associated with the presence of OSAS, and its thickness is well correlated with the severity of the diseases. Thus, it may be a reliable indicator of OSAS and could be used as a supportive finding to identify patients suitable for referral for diagnostic polysomnography.