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Obstructive Sleep Apnea


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Obstructive sleep apnea – or OSA – is severely restricted airflow that pauses breathing during sleep, sometimes several times a night. It’s one of a spectrum of adult and pediatric sleep-disordered breathing conditions caused by narrowing or blockage in the upper respiratory tract (mouth, nose, and throat).

The “apnea” in sleep apnea refers to a breathing pause that lasts at least ten seconds. OSA occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite efforts to breathe.

Sleep-disordered breathing progresses over time — from snoring with little to no airway restriction, to obstructive sleep apnea with complete collapsed airways. Another form of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea, where the brain fails to properly control breathing during sleep.

For people with sleep apnea, the combination of disturbed sleep and oxygen starvation may lead to a variety of potentially serious conditions, including:

More than 18 million American adults have sleep apnea. OSA occurs in all age groups and both sexes, but some factors increase the risk including:

  • Being age 40 or older
  • Being overweight
  • Having a large neck size (17 inches or larger in a man, or 16 inches or larger in a woman)
  • Having a large tongue, tonsils, or uvula (the flap of skin that hangs down in the back of your throat
  • Having a recessed (set back from the rest of the face) chin
  • Having a small upper airway
  • Small jaw or a large overbite (front teeth that rest far in front of the bottom teeth, when your mouth is closed naturally)
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol

Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea depends on the cause, which may happen at different levels in the upper airways at the same. Causes of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Chronic nasal allergies
  • Deviated septum (the bone and cartilage that separates the nostrils)
  • Enlarged tonsils, adenoids (glands in the roof of the mouth), uvula (the tissue that hangs down in the back of your throat), or tongue
  • Excessive tissue in the airways
  • Facial or skull abnormalities related to the jaw, palate, or head shape
  • Fat in the airways due to obesity or extra weight
  • Small airways

You may have a medical condition if a loved one says you snore loudly, make gasping or choking noises, or are restless during sleep. If you experience these symptoms, visit with one of the University of Miami Health System's sleep medicine specialists today.

Why Choose UHealth?

State-of-the-art testing and expert diagnosis for children and adults. Our sleep medicine specialists perform sleep endoscopies and a variety of sleep studies. Sleep studies take place 24/7 in our comfortable, state-of-the-art facilities with an expert staff. This means we get accurate results, so we can provide the best treatment possible for your specific condition.

Innovative non-surgical and surgical therapies for obstructive sleep apnea. We offer comprehensive therapies to treat obstructive sleep apnea, including myofunctional therapy, minimally invasive upper airway stimulation, and endoscopic sinus surgery. You have access to a variety of treatments all in one place.

Experienced surgical team. If your obstructive sleep apnea requires surgery, you can be confident in our board-certified pediatric and adult sleep medicine surgeons. You receive the right expertise and the right procedures for your condition. We also combine procedures to make life easier for you.

StrokeAware: Get Informed About Strokes

Man in a suit sleeping on a desk

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of serious, long-term, adult disability. Each year, over 700,000 people have a stroke; 75% of these are first attacks. Knowing the warning signs and acting quickly are our best defenses against Stroke.

SleepAware: Snoring Is More Than An Annoyance, It's A Warning

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Approximately 18 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and 10 million are undiagnosed. More than 50% of Americans over the age of 65 have a sleep problem. Those with untreated OSA face a risk of heart attack or stroke that is up to four times greater than those who are not afflicted.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.


  • CPAP and BiPAP Therapies

    Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is a breathing machine that constantly pushes air through the nose, or nose and mouth, to keep the airways open while you sleep. The therapy involves a variety of masks and pressure settings based on your specific needs. CPAP is a very effective non-surgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Modern devices are small, quiet, and more comfortable than older versions.

    For people with difficulty exhaling using CPAP machines, bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) therapy can help. BiPAP breathing machines use bilevel pressure, or one level for inhalation and a lower level for exhalation, making it easier to breathe.

  • Medicine

    Depending on your condition, your doctor may prescribe medicines to reduce symptoms that make it even harder to breath. These can include nasal spray decongestants to thin mucus or corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.

  • Myofunctional Therapy

    Myofunctional therapy for obstructive sleep apnea includes a variety of therapies and behavior modifications to open airways and improve breathing. A certified myofunctional therapist teaches you exercises to strengthen or retrain muscles in the face and mouth, and helps you stop bad habits, like improper head position while you sleep. It is also used after surgery, such as maxillomandibular advancement or frenuloplasty for tongue-tie.

  • Oral Devices

    Mild forms of obstructive sleep apnea may respond to devices you put in your mouth to improve airflow while you sleep. Some customized devices can help align the jaws or keep the tongue from falling into the throat.

  • Sleep Surgery

    Sleep surgery for obstructive sleep apnea may be a first line treatment or an option after other treatments fail. The type of surgery depends on where and why the obstruction happens, and patient age. In children, removing the tonsils and/or adenoids is usually enough to make more room in the airways. Types of sleep surgery in adults include hypopharyngeal surgery (upper airway stimulation or genioglossus advancement), nasal surgery (septoplasty or endoscopic sinus surgery), palate surgery (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty), and facial skeletal surgery (maxillomandibular advancement).

  • Weight Loss

    Obesity and extra weight can cause or worsen symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea by adding pressure to the upper airway system. Our sleep medicine teams can help you reach optimum health with exercises, nutritional counseling, and behavioral health services.


  • Sleep Endoscopy

    Sleep endoscopy, also called drug-induced sleep endoscopy, is a minimally invasive procedure that allows the doctor to see what’s happening in the upper airways while you’re sedated. It involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera through the nose to view the degree of collapse at different levels of the airway. The procedure is performed in an operating room as an outpatient (no overnight hospital stay) and takes about a day to recover.

  • Sleep Study

    An adult or pediatric sleep study (also called polysomnography) is performed in our sleep clinic. While you sleep, we collect information such as breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, brain wave activity, muscle tone, heart rhythm, and eye movements. This information is captured using small, painless electrodes attached to your body and elastic bands around your chest and abdomen.

    Because we’re open 24/7, we offer a variety of studies including:

    • Maintenance wakefulness test (MWT): measures how alert you are during the day
    • Multiple latency sleep test (MSLT): a test that checks your daytime sleepiness by monitoring how quickly you fall asleep in a quiet, daytime environment
    • Round-the-clock, all-night continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): a breathing machine that constantly pushes air through the nose, or nose and mouth, to keep the airways open while you sleep

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • Doctor's Healthcare Plan
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • Florida Community Care (FCC)
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care