BACKGROUND: Nasal obstruction may contribute to the development of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Acoustic rhinometry (AR) measures nasal patency and congestion, which are useful parameters in objectively evaluating nasal obstruction. The nasal obstruction produced by allergic rhinitis may contribute to the development of OSA and can be easily with AR. OBJECTIVE: This study was undertaken to assess the degree of nasal obstruction seen in allergic patients with and without OSA. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: This study was a retrospective data analysis from a tertiary referral center. The AR data from 10 patients with and 40 patients without mild OSA were compared. RESULTS: The mean congestion factors at the first cross-sectional area (CSA1) on the AR graph were found to be significantly higher in the OSA group than in the non-OSA group (P = 0.03). The classification of change in congestion factors demonstrated significant differences at CSA1, CSA2, and CSA3 and in volume (t distributions <0.001, 0.0312, <0.001, and <0.001, respectively). The non-OSA patients noted a significant subjective improvement in nasal congestion after topical nasal decongestion, whereas the OSA patients did not (P ≤ 0.0001 and 0.064, respectively). CONCLUSION: Although the role of nasal obstruction in OSA is controversial, our study lends evidence to the thought that the nasal obstruction associated with allergic rhinitis is associated with the presence of mild OSA. SIGNIFICANCE: Whether allergic rhinitis is a direct cause of OSA is debatable, but we have shown that greater nasal congestion is related to the presence of OSA in a population of patients with allergic rhinitis.
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