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Physiology-Based Modeling May Predict Surgical Treatment Outcome for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

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Study objectives

To test whether the integration of both anatomical and nonanatomical parameters (ventilatory control, arousal threshold, muscle responsiveness) in a physiology-based model will improve the ability to predict outcomes after upper airway surgery for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).


In 31 patients who underwent upper airway surgery for OSA, loop gain and arousal threshold were calculated from preoperative polysomnography (PSG). Three models were compared: (1) a multiple regression based on an extensive list of PSG parameters alone; (2) a multivariate regression using PSG parameters plus PSG-derived estimates of loop gain, arousal threshold, and other trait surrogates; (3) a physiological model incorporating selected variables as surrogates of anatomical and nonanatomical traits important for OSA pathogenesis.


Although preoperative loop gain was positively correlated with postoperative apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) (P = .008) and arousal threshold was negatively correlated (P = .011), in both model 1 and 2, the only significant variable was preoperative AHI, which explained 42% of the variance in postoperative AHI. In contrast, the physiological model (model 3), which included AHIREM (anatomy term), fraction of events that were hypopnea (arousal term), the ratio of AHIREM and AHINREM (muscle responsiveness term), loop gain, and central/mixed apnea index (control of breathing terms), was able to explain 61% of the variance in postoperative AHI.


Although loop gain and arousal threshold are associated with residual AHI after surgery, only preoperative AHI was predictive using multivariate regression modeling. Instead, incorporating selected surrogates of physiological traits on the basis of OSA pathophysiology created a model that has more association with actual residual AHI.


A commentary on this article appears in this issue on page 1023.

Clinical trial registration

ClinicalTrials.Gov; Title: The Impact of Sleep Apnea Treatment on Physiology Traits in Chinese Patients With Obstructive Sleep Apnea; Identifier: NCT02696629; URL:

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