ATA: Thyroidectomy Improves Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Significant decrease in snoring frequency; lower scores in question of snoring bothering others

FRIDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Surgical reduction or removal of an enlarged thyroid gland improves obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) symptoms, including snoring, according to a study being presented in the annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association, held from Oct. 26 to 30 in Palm Springs, Calif.

Alexandra Reiher, M.D., from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues investigated the impact of an enlarged thyroid gland on OSA. Symptoms, such as snoring, were evaluated by questionnaire before and eight weeks after a partial or total thyroidectomy.

The investigators found that 51 percent of patients who underwent surgical reduction or removal of the thyroid gland were considered to be at high risk for OSA, compared to 71 percent of those who did not undergo the surgery. Post-thyroidectomy, symptom scores improved substantially, including significantly decreased snoring frequency and lower scores regarding a question about whether others were disturbed by the snoring.

"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," a co-author said in a statement.

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