Snoring-induced nerve lesions in the upper airway

Rajesh P. Poothrikovil, Mohammed A. Al Abri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The prevalence of habitual snoring is extremely high in the general population, and is reported to be roughly 40% in men and 20% in women. The low-frequency vibrations of snoring may cause physical trauma and, more specifically, peripheral nerve injuries, just as jobs which require workers to use vibrating tools over the course of many years result in local nerve lesions in the hands. Histopathological analysis of upper airway (UA) muscles have shown strong evidence of a varying severity of neurological lesions in groups of snoring patients. Neurophysiological assessment shows evidence of active and chronic denervation and re-innervation in the palatopharyngeal muscles of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) patients. Neurogenic lesions of UA muscles induced by vibration trauma impair the reflex dilation abilities of the UA, leading to an increase in the possibility of UA collapse. The neurological factors which are partly responsible for the progressive nature of OSAS warrant the necessity of early assessment in habitual snorers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalSultan Qaboos University Medical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • Neurogenic
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS)
  • Palatopharyngeal muscle
  • Snoring
  • Trauma
  • Upper airway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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