Surgical Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Glossary of Terms

  • Adenoid - single midline lymph gland above the soft palate at the very back of the nose.
  • Apnea - absence of breathing.
  • BMI - body mass index, a height and weight adjusted quotient used for assessing obesity.
  • Epiglottis - soft tissue flap covering the vocal cords at the base of the tongue.
  • Hypopnea - decreased breathing with at least 50% reduction in air flow.
  • Larynx - "voice box" consisting of laryngeal cartilage or "Adam's apple" and the underlying vocal cords.
  • LSAT - lowest oxygen saturation, normal saturation at least 95%.
  • Mandible - lower jaw bone.
  • Maxilla - upper jaw bone.
  • Nasal Septum - the internal midline partition dividing the nose into right and left nasal chambers.
  • RDI - respiratory disturbance index, a measure of OSA severity that averages the number of apnea and hypopnea events in a given hour. 20-40 mild, 40-60 moderate, >60 events per hour, severe.
  • Retrognathia - small lower jaw and chin that predispose to airway blockage at the tongue base.
  • Sleep architecture - characteristic EEG pattern of the frequency and duration of the different stages of sleep.
  • Soft palate - movable part of roof of mouth.
  • Turbinates - paired ridges in both nasal cavities that can get swollen in response to allergy.
  • Tonsils - paired mounds of lymph glands on each side of the throat.
  • Uvula - small midline dangling part of the soft palate.
  • CPAP - Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.