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Revista Ecuatoriana de Neurología

versión On-line ISSN 2631-2581versión impresa ISSN 1019-8113


DEL BRUTTO MD, Oscar. Obstructive Sleep Apnea and aberrant pneumatization of skull bones. Rev Ecuat Neurol [online]. 2017, vol.26, n.3, pp.191-193. ISSN 2631-2581.


We aimed to assess the association between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and aberrant pneumatization of skull bones in Amerindians living in rural Ecuador.


A random sample of community-dwelling individuals aged ≥60 years enrolled in the Atahualpa Project, were invited to undergo a single diagnostic night polysomnography (PSG) at the sleep unit of the Atahualpa Project Community Center. Exams were performed with an Embletta® X100™ Comprehensive Portable PSG System. A board-certified sleep neurologist carried out analyses of sleep efficiency, architecture, arousal indexes, apnea/hypopnea index, oxygen saturation, heart rate and motor activity. CT readings were focused on the presence and distribution of pneumatization of intracranial bones, as assessed by CT with bone window settings.


Thirty-eight participants were included. Mean age was 74.5 ± 6.8 years and 25 (66%) were women. The apnea/hypopnea index ranged from 0.2 to 56 (mean 15.7 ± 14.6) episodes per hour. Fifteen persons (39%) had ≥10 episodes per hour and were considered to have OSA. Abnormal pneumatization of skull bones was noticed in six persons, included five out of 15 (33%) with OSA and one out of 23 (4%) without (p=0.027). Air was found in the temporal squamas in five (bilateral in four), the occipital bones in one, and in both the temporal squamas and the occipital bones in the remaining person.


This study shows a significant association between OSA and aberrant pneumatization of skull bones. These findings are of potential clinical relevance, since these individuals could be at increased risk of painless fractures from minor trauma or may be prone to develop spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leaks.

Palabras clave : Obstructive sleep apnea; pneumatization of skull bones; Valsalva maneuver; Amerindians.

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