Sleep apnea and cervical spine pathology.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

PURPOSE: Sleep apnea is a multi-factorial disease with a variety of identified causes. With its close proximity to the upper airway, the cervical spine and its associated pathologies can produce sleep apnea symptoms in select populations. The aim of this article was to summarize the literature discussing how cervical spine pathologies may cause sleep apnea. METHODS: A search of the PubMed database for English-language literature concerning the cervical spine and its relationship with sleep apnea was conducted. Seventeen published papers were selected and reviewed. RESULTS: Single-lesion pathologies of the cervical spine causing sleep apnea include osteochondromas, osteophytes, and other rare pathologies. Multifocal lesions include rheumatoid arthritis of the cervical spine and endogenous cervical fusions. Furthermore, occipital-cervical misalignment pre- and post-cervical fusion surgery may predispose patients to sleep apnea. CONCLUSIONS: Pathologies of the cervical spine present significant additional etiologies for producing obstructive sleep apnea in select patient populations. Knowledge of these entities and their pathophysiologic mechanisms is informative for the clinician in diagnosing and managing sleep apnea in certain populations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Khan, A; Than, KD; Chen, KS; Wang, AC; La Marca, F; Park, P

Published Date

  • March 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 23 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 641 - 647

PubMed ID

  • 24121751

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3940806

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1432-0932

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00586-013-3046-4


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Germany