Mallampati score is often used as a tool to predict the likelihood of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However studies have revealed cranio-facial differences between Caucasians and African-Americans. This study attempts to look at the effectiveness of modified mallampati score in predicting OSA in African-American (AA) population.
retrospective analysis of 250 African American patients with 103 Caucasians controls. 250 African American patients who underwent polysomnography at an accredited sleep center were reviewed for information on modified mallampati score (MMS) and multivariate analysis on other variables.
Of the 250 AA patients reviewed 155/250 (62%) were females. Majority of AA patients 205/250 (82%) were found to be MMS IV as opposed to 61/102 (59%) of Caucasians. 23/28 (80%) patients with MMS I and II (low risk) were found to have OSA. 176/222 (79%) patients with MMS III and IV were found to have OSA. Odds ratio of MMS for OSA in African –Americans was 0.99 (p=0.966) as compared to odds ratio of 1.06 (p=0.732) in Caucasians. With every one unit change in MMS the AHI increased by 2.46 which was not significant (p=0.143).Well known factors that are significantly associated with OSA (male, hypertension, body mass index and neck collar size) are confirmed in our study.
The people with a lower Mallampati score are equally likely to have OSA compared to people with a higher Mallampatti score and is further true for males and females.
Study suggests that too much emphasis should not be placed on mallampati score specially in African American population while evaluating for obstructive sleep apnea.
Sunil Sharma, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information