Upper airway assessment in cone-beam computed tomography for screening of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: development of an evaluation protocol in dentistry

Catarina Fonseca, Francisca Cavadas, Patrícia Fonseca

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3 Citações (Scopus)
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Background: The upper airways are formed by the nasal cavities, pharynx, and larynx. There are several radiographic methods that allow evaluation of the craniofacial structure. Upper airway analysis in cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) may be useful in diagnosing some pathologies such as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). OSAS prevalence has increased significantly in recent decades, justified by increased obesity and average life expectancy. It can be associated with cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurovascular diseases, diabetes, and hypertension. In some individuals with OSAS, the upper airway is compromised and narrowed. Nowadays, CBCT is widely used in dentistry by clinicians. Its use for upper airway assessment would be an advantage for screening some abnormalities related to an increased risk of pathologies such as OSAS. CBCT helps to calculate the total volume of the airways and their area in different anatomical planes (sagittal, coronal, and transverse). It also helps identify regions with the highest anteroposterior and laterolateral constriction of the airways. Despite its undoubted advantages, airway assessment is not routinely performed in dentistry. There is no protocol that allows comparisons between studies, which makes it difficult to obtain scientific evidence in this area. Hence, there is an urgent need to standardize the protocol for upper airway measurement to help clinicians identify at-risk patients. Objective: Our main aim is to develop a standard protocol for upper airway evaluation in CBCT for OSAS screening in dentistry. Methods: To measure and evaluate the upper airways, data are obtained using Planmeca ProMax 3D (Planmeca). Patient orientation is performed in accordance with the manufacturer's indications at the time of image acquisition. The exposure corresponds to 90 kV, 8 mA, and 13,713 seconds. The software used for upper airway analysis is Romexis (version 5.1.O.R; Planmeca). The images are exhibited in accordance with the field of view of 20.1×17.4 cm, size of 502×502×436 mm, and voxel size of 400 μm. Results: The protocol described and illustrated here allows for automatic calculation of the total volume of the pharyngeal airspace, its area of greatest narrowing, its location, and the smallest anteroposterior and laterolateral dimensions of the pharynx. These measurements are carried out automatically by the imaging software whose reliability is proven by the existing literature. Thus, we could reduce the possible bias of manual measurement, aiming at data collection. Conclusions: The use of this protocol by dentists will allow for standardization of the measurements and constitutes a valuable screening tool for OSAS. This protocol may also be suitable for other imaging software. The anatomical points used as reference are most relevant for standardizing studies in this field.
Idioma originalEnglish
Número do artigoe41049
Número de páginas8
RevistaJMIR Research Protocols
Estado da publicaçãoPublicado - 5 mai. 2023

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