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September 1984

Sleep Apnea Precipitated by Pharyngeal Surgery in a Patient With Myotonic Dystrophy

Author Affiliations

From the Sleep Research and Treatment Center (Drs Cadieux and Kales) and the Departments of Psychiatry (Drs Cadieux and Kales), Medicine (Drs McGlynn and Simmonds), and Surgery (Drs Jackson and Manders), Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1984;110(9):611-613. doi:10.1001/archotol.1984.00800350053014

• A patient was seen for evaluation of excessive daytime sleepiness, which was exacerbated following complications secondary to surgical reconstruction of the pharynx for a submucous cleft palate. She underwent recordings in the sleep laboratory and was found to have sleep apnea. Also, a thorough clinical and laboratory assessment established the diagnosis of myotonic dystrophy. Following tracheostomy, both the patient's sleep apnea and daytime hypersomnia were eliminated. Our case demonstrates that surgical procedures involving the upper airway should be approached with considerable caution in patients with myotonic dystrophy and only after the presence of associated sleep apnea has been carefully excluded. An original finding is the suggestion of a decrease in the number of T-cell lymphocytes in a patient with myotonic dystrophy.

(Arch Otolaryngol 1984;110:611-613)