Clinical investigations from the RACP

Investigation of the snoring patient

Kirk Kee, Matthew T Naughton



Snoring can strain relationships and signal the presence of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Investigation depends on symptoms and risk of OSA and may range from simple overnight oximetry at home to polysomnography.

Key Points

  • Snoring that is socially disturbing or associated with cardiovascular disease, daytime sleepiness or imminent major surgery is worthy of investigation.
  • Investigations depend on the severity of the patient’s condition, treatment planned and clinician experience.
  • Assessment should start with a thorough history and examination, in particular seeking symptoms and risk factors for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
  • Simple screening questionnaires can help determine OSA risk and identify snorers who require further investigation.
  • Investigations range from simple overnight oximetry in the patient’s home to detailed polysomnography in a sleep laboratory.
  • Treatment includes conservative, dental and surgical options and continuous positive airway pressure.