Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


We report four siblings who had polysomnographically documented sleep apnea. Two presented with the typical clinical picture of sleep apnea syndrome including daytime somnolence and snoring, had repetitive obstructive apneic episodes during sleep, and were effectively treated with upper airway surgery. The other two were asymptomatic and showed infrequent apneic episodes during sleep. This family illustrates the distinction between the sleep apnea syndrome and infrequent apneic episodes during sleep. The sleep apnea syndrome is associated with daytime symptomatology and requires treatment. The presence of apneic episodes during sleep in all four siblings has implications regarding the predisposing factors (eg, upper airway anatomy and central nervous system dysfunction) versus precipitating factors (eg, obesity, upper airway infection, and central nervous system depressants) in sleep apnea.