Lung function was measured by using a plethysmograph and the NEP technique was performed with the patient in the seated and supine positions in a random order.
The depression was fixed to 5 cmH(2)O. All patients had normal forced expiratory flow/volume loops.
Apneic patients had lower Dflow in both positions with a number of oscillations on the expiratory curve obtained with NEP and an expiratory flow limitation (EFL) in the supine position higher than that of other groups (p < 0.05). Changing from the sitting to the supine position raised the EFL of the three groups, with a significant decrease in Dflow and an increase in the number of oscillations in snoring and OSAS patients (p < 0.05). The analysis of variance showed that only the number of oscillations was significantly different between apneic and snoring patients. NEP constitutes a simple and useful tool for the screening OSAS by EFL, especially the number of oscillations obtained with NEP.
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