01 May 2017
A group of local ear nose and throat (ENT) surgeons have recently had a study published on patients suffering from snoring or mild obstructive sleep apnoea.
The study, devised by Mr Bhik Kotecha* and part-funded by Spire Hartswood Hospital, involved using a strobe light and camera within the upper airways of 45 patients. This allowed the consultants to see soft tissue vibrations within the nose and throat in what appeared to be slow-motion.
Similar to how a person appears to freeze momentarily when dancing in strobe light at a night club, the strobe effect enabled the ENT specialists to focus on movements in parts of the throat not previously visible with a standard halogen light source.
Mr Bhik Kotecha says: “The stroboscope is not a new instrument and has been used to evaluate voice disorders for many years. However, there is no previous record of it being used to identify the source of a snoring problem.
“Though we wouldn’t use stroboscopy for routine examinations, where the source of a patient’s snoring is proving difficult to identify or where other treatments have failed, it can be used to enhance visualisation and confirm a more accurate diagnosis.”
Whilst many think that snoring is a trivial issue, a chronic problem can be very stressful for both the snorer and those close to them.
Frequent waking and poor quality sleep can have a detrimental effect on a person’s quality of life and can put additional strain on the heart. Prolonged suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea often results in higher blood pressure and may cause enlargement of the heart, higher risks of heart attack and stroke.
It is thought that 40% of the population of England snore**.
* The co-authors of Mr Kotecha’s study, entitled ‘Evaluation of upper airway obstruction in snoring patients using digital video stroboscopy’, are G Kumar, A Walden, B Gowers and R Sands.
** Survey carried out by the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association.