By Dr. George B. Roth
Upper airway obstruction (UAO) may be partial, in the case of snoring, or complete, in the case of obstructive sleep apnea. Narrowing of the upper airway, during sleep, causes this often serious condition, affecting millions of people worldwide. The uvula and soft pallet may come into partial or total contact on the back wall of the upper airway. When the contact is partial or intermittent, snoring (a loud vibration of these soft tissues) may result. The tongue may also drop posteriorly onto the back wall of the upper airway, coming into contact with the uvula and soft pallet, thus forming a tight blockage, preventing any air from entering the lungs. Respiratory effort on the part of the diaphragm and chest may cause the blockage to seal tighter. In order to breathe the person must arouse or awaken, causing tension in the tongue, and thereby opening the airway, allowing air to pass into the lungs. Apnea, sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea is defined as the cessation of breathing for 10 or more seconds while asleep1. Traditional methods of treatment usually involve Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices. Matrix Repatterning techniques were used in ten cases of long-standing, moderate to severe cases upper airway obstruction.