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Author and surgeon explains apnea medical terminology

Steven Y. Park, MD gave an enlightening presentation about apnea and related breathing disorders during the Airway Focused Dentistry Mini-Residency. The course was co-developed by Dr. Mark A Cruz of Dana Point.

What is obstructive sleep apnea

The discussion of sleep disordered breathing, usually revolves around OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). However, as Dr. Park explained, the criteria used to define OSA is very limited, specifically, and it was largely chosen arbitrarily by early researchers.

Dr. Park went on to explain the specific definition of apnea related terms:

  • Apnea – An event obstructing at least 90 percent of the airway and lasting at least 10 seconds
  • Hypopnea – An event obstructing at least 30 percent of the airway, combined with four percent blood oxygen desaturation or arousal from sleep and lasting at least 10 seconds
  • RERA (Respiratory Event Related Arousal) – An event similar to apnea or hypopnea, but milder; it does not meet the rigid criteria
  • RDI (Respiratory Disturbance Index) – A number calculated by determining the total of apneas, hypopneas, and RERAs each hour
  • AHI (Apnea Hypopnea Index) – A number calculated by determining the total of apneas and hypopneas each hour; RERAs are not considered in this number
  • OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) – The majority of insurance companies and testing laboratories define OSA as having an AHI of five or greater, which excludes patients with a high number of RERAs
  • UARS (Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome) – A condition defined by events of abnormal breathing and decreased esophageal pressure, which do not meet the criteria of apneas and hypopneas

Although URAS contributes to fatigue, depression, headaches, chronic pain, neurological problems, and a host of other medical concerns, it is often undiagnosed in sleep tests, because they are looking for signs of OAS.
Dr. Cruz, Dr. Park and their colleagues are committed to improving diagnosis and treatment of airway disorders.

Meet Dr. Mark Cruz

Dr. Mark Cruz Dr. Mark Cruz graduated from the UCLA School of Dentistry in 1986 and started his dental journey in Monarch Beach. He is a well-known lecturer internationally, and he was a part-time lecturer at UCLA. He gives individual attention to each patient while creating a friendly and enjoyable dental experience. He makes the patient a part of the dental procedure, educating them about the problem at hand.

Connect with Dr. Mark A Cruz on Linkedin