Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gary Kubiak: Sleep Apnea, Surgery & the NFL

Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is receiving surgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.

Nose surgery was performed yesterday,
reports The Houston Chronicle. In six weeks another procedure will be performed on his throat.

Sleep apnea is a common problem in the NFL. Last year the Sleep Education Blog
reported that OSA is common in retired NFL players. The NFL and the NFL Players Association previously began working together to target heart disease and sleep apnea in retired players.

And a
2003 study of 302 NFL players found that they are more likely to have sleep apnea than other men their age. The risk was highest for offensive and defensive linemen.

Although Kubiak is a retired NFL player, he wasn’t a lineman. He was a back-up quarterback for the Denver Broncos from 1983 to 1991. Kubiak threw 14 touchdown passes in limited playing time behind John Elway, a 2004 inductee in the
Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And the 48-year-old Kubiak isn’t obese. He is listed at 6 feet, 192 pounds. This gives him a
body mass index (BMI) of 26, which means he is slightly overweight.

His case is a good reminder that OSA can occur in men and women of all body types. It also can occur
in children.

Excess body weight is the major predisposing factor for obstructive sleep apnea. But OSA also occurs in people who maintain a healthy weight. A
study presented at SLEEP 2009 found a high rate of sleep apnea in non-obese adults.

The AASM reports that
CPAP therapy is the treatment of choice for all severity levels of OSA. A surgical procedure is an alternative treatment option for some people with sleep apnea.

It may be required to correct a physical abnormality. It also may be performed if you are unable to have success with CPAP or an
oral appliance.

Surgical procedures tend to be “site-specific;” they will seek to eliminate the cause of the obstruction. Problem areas related to OSA include the tonsils, tongue, soft palate, throat, jaw and nose.

In Kubiak’s case, septoplasty may have been performed on his nose to straighten a bent septum. Or he may have had turbinate reduction to reduce or remove large turbinates and polyps from the nasal passage.

His upcoming surgery may involve the removal of soft tissue from the throat. This tissue can collapse and block the airway during sleep.

Are you at risk for sleep apnea?
STOP and find out. You also can answer these questions on to learn more about your risk. Get help for sleep apnea at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.

Read more about
OSA and surgery.

Image by Brit

1 comment:

Jim said...

Do you know how they are testing for sleep apnea? Are they doing home tests or scheduling overnight sleep clinic stays?

I ask because I've helped to develop a cloud based software that would help them carry out spot checks, and carry out full analysis of the results using a portable oximeter. It also produces clinically approved reports regarding events over the night which could then be sent to specialists for further analysis.

Would you know how I would get in touch with someone from that team?

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