I post a lot (especially on our Facebook page) about the research and statistics that are out there regarding Oral Appliance Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). However, that tells you little (or nothing) about the progress of MY office and MY patients. So this October (2010) we did “little” inter-office collaborative project…

We looked at an anonymous sample of 193 patients from all 4 Dental Medicine Provider locations (San Francisco, San Mateo, Sacramento and Citrus Heights) who had all completed oral appliance therapy for OSA. Specifically, we took a look at the patients’ AHI (Apnea/Hypopnea Index) scores — which is just a fancy term for how many times a person’s breathing is significantly restricted per hour. And what did we find?

For Patients with Mild OSA (an AHI of 15 or less)…

On average, this group experienced a 6.5 point or a 61% reduction in their AHI (remember, that whenever we talk about AHI we are not talking about a score for the whole night, the AHI score refers to the number of episodes per hour). This means that, on average, patients had 39 fewer episodes a night! Also, no one in this group ended up with an AHI score of more than 9.3 (which most insurance companies don’t even consider to be a significant enough score to provide coverage for!) and the average AHI score was 4.1, which by definition, is considered apnea free (everyone has a few episodes here and there, so any AHI score below 5 is considered normal!).

For Patients with Moderate OSA

On average, this group experienced a 13.2 point and 62% reduction in the number of episodes they experiences per hour (AHI). The end AHI score for this group ranged from 0.3 (no sleep apnea) to 20.9, with an average score 8.5 episodes per hour! (At 8.5 episodes per hour, some insurance companies wont even cover therapy!)

Severe OSA

On average, this group experienced a 12.9 and 72% reduction in the number of episodes they experiences per hour (AHI). The end AHI for this category ranged from 0.6 to 34.5, with an average score of 12.6.  In fact, only 2 (out of 74) patients remained in the “severe” category and they both ended up with scores of less than 35 episodes per hour (anything below 30 episodes is no longer considered severe).

Overall, the average ending AHI for all groups combined was 8.95, or in the Mild OSA category. Of 192 patients who completed treatment:

  • 60 ended up Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Free
  • 90 ended up with Mild OSA
  • 40 ended up with Moderate OSA
  • 2 stayed in the Severe OSA category
  • Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have regarding the numbers!