Computed Tomographic Scanning Rationale

Computed tomographic (CT) scanning allows imaging of the upper airway size and anatomy (38, 39). The technique may also demonstrate related structural abnormalities, which may impinge on the upper airway.

Equipment

Routine CT scanners are used (see Section 7 of this Statement). Three-dimensional reconstruction may be helpful.

Advantages

Computed tomography is widely available, it is noninvasive, and it provides images of the whole upper airway.

Disadvantages

The subject receives radiation exposure. Subjects are usually studied awake, whereas the object of investigation is often the site of upper airway narrowing during sleep.

Applications

Computed tomography is of limited value in determining the site of obstruction of the upper airway, as this must be done during sleep; the site of maximal narrowing during wakeful-ness may not be the site of occlusion during sleep. Faster acquisition CT scanners hold the promise of providing not just structural images of the upper airway but also the ability to assess upper airway function.

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