Thyroid surgery may reduce snoring

Last Updated: Oct 30, 2011, 15:54 PM IST

Washington: Surgical removal or reduction of an enlarged thyroid gland could help reduce sleep apnea symptoms like snoring, a new study has suggested.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects about 20 percent of the population and is caused by narrowing or blockage of the airways when a person is asleep.

If not treated, OSA can even increase the chances of person’s death.

To evaluate the impact of enlarged thyroid gland, known as goitre, on OSA, Alexandra Reiher, MD, and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, assessed OSA symptoms such as snoring before and after thyroidectomy to remove all or part of and enlarged thyroid gland, Newswise reported.

Patients who reported symptoms of OSA included snoring were asked to fill up a questionnaire before and 8 weeks after undergoing thyroidectomy.

The study showed that a significantly fewer patients (51 percent versus 71 percent) were considered to be at high risk for OSA following surgical reduction or removal of the thyroid gland.

Symptom scores improved substantially after thyroidectomy, including a significant decrease in snoring frequency and lower scores on the question of whether the snoring bothered others.

“Obstructive sleep apnea is obviously a complex problem with numerous causes, but we find it encouraging that thyroidectomy alone can provide significant improvements in nearly a third of patients, regardless of gland size,” said study author Rebecca Sippel, MD, Assistant Professor, Division of General Surgery, and Chief, Section of Endocrine Surgery, at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

The data was recently presented at the 81st Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association.

ANI