Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2012 Jun;19(1):22-26.

The Clinical Characteristics Between the Positional Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patients with the Non-positional Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patients

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, St. Paul's Hospital, The Catholic University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


The percentage of positional sleep apnea in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) varies in different reports from 9% to 60%. If there is a positional dependency in patients with OSA, positional therapy alone could be successful in treating about 50% of all OSA cases. The aim of this report is to compare anthropomorphic and polysomnographic data between the positional sleep apnea group and non-positional sleep apnea group with OSA whose conditions were diagnosed in our sleep clinic.
This is a retrospective study of anthropomorphic and polysomnographic data of patients with OSA who was performed a nocturnal polysomnography. Positional sleep apnea was defined as having a supine apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of twice or more compared to the AHI in the non-supine position. The patients were divided in the positional sleep apnea group and the non-positional sleep apnea group.
In 101 patients with OSA, 81 were male, and the mean age was 49.2+/-11.9 years. Seventy-six (75.2%) were diagnosed as the positional sleep apnea. Waist to hip ratio and body mass index (BMI) were significantly higher in non-positional sleep apnea group. The frequency of severe OSA was significantly higher in this group. In the positional sleep apnea group, nocturnal sleep quality was better preserved, and consequently these patients were less sleepy during daytime. AHI was significantly lower and minimal arterial oxygen saturation during sleep was significantly higher in this group.
The percentage of positional sleep apnea in OSA was 75.2%. AHI, BMI, and waist to hip ratio were lower in the positional sleep apnea group. These patients have less severe breathing abnormalities than the non-positional sleep apnea group in polysomnography.


Obstructive sleep apnea; Apnea-hypopnea index; Polysomnography; Sleep position

MeSH Terms

Body Mass Index
Dependency (Psychology)
Retrospective Studies
Sleep Apnea Syndromes
Sleep Apnea, Obstructive
Waist-Hip Ratio
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