What is the difference betweeen obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea?

This question was asked in Mayfield, New York on .
How is obstructive sleep apnea different from other types of sleep apnea? Is central sleep apnea the most common form of sleep apnea? Do these two types of sleep apnea have the same treatment options?

Doctors Answers (2)

Timothy J. Delcambre, DDS, MHA
Answered on: 6/6/2013 1

This question needs to be directed to a physician of sleep medicine. I am a dentist who assists in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea by fabricating oral appliance.

Susan M. Welch
Answered on: 6/6/2013 1

Obstructive Sleep apnea is a collapse of the upper airway/throat tissue/tongue base/soft palate. Central Apnea is lack of neurological signals going from the breathing center of the brainstem, to the diagphram and intercostals. So, with OSA there is EFFORT and with CSA there is no effort. Mixed apnea, is the third type which starts as central but then changes to obstructive at the end of the event. OSA is the most common. CSA cannot be treated with an oral orthotic, nor any kind of change to the soft tissue of the throat through means, like surgery. There are some folks that suffer from both, and in this case, the patient could benefit from both a Postive Air Pressure (like CPAP, Bi-PAP, or AutoPAP) AND an oral orthotic, called dual or combination therapy.