Ask a Respiratory Therapist?
By Lori Peters, RRT, AMSR Respiratory Therapist
Question: What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Answer: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common disorder that involves pauses, or periods of apnea, while someone sleeps. These pauses between breaths might last from 10 seconds to a few minutes. The severity of apnea is measured in terms of the number of times the apnea occurs over the course of an hour; this can be anywhere from 5 to 30 times or more. The apneic period ends when the patient takes his or her next breath, oftentimes with a loud snorting sound. Sleep apnea results in low nighttime blood oxygen levels and daytime sleepiness, due to the restless sleep from the night before.