Among the variables measured during sleep testing, the AHI (apnea-hypopnea index) is one of the most important. The AHI is the sum of the number of apneas (pauses in breathing) plus the number of hypopneas (episodes of shallow breathing) that occur each hour, on average.
In moderate or severe sleep apnea, the AHI is 15 or higher. These patients will need to be treated with CPAP or some other type of device prior to surgery. Patients who have an AHI of 10-15 have mild sleep apnea. Treatment in this range is based on the severity of symptoms. Weight loss is proven as an effective treatment for mild sleep apnea, therefore it is our protocol to not recommend a sleep appliance for patients with an AHI of 10-15 who are preparing to undergo weight loss surgery. If symptoms persist after losing weight, then a referral to a sleep specialist may be recommended.
If you are diagnosed with mild sleep apnea and end up not proceeding with a weight loss procedure, we recommend that you follow up with your primary care provider for further recommendations.