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An aberrant internal carotid artery discovered during evaluation of obstructive sleep apnea: A report of 2 cases with consideration of a possible association

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January 1, 2011
by Andrew C. Picel, MD and Terence M. Davidson, MD


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is often associated with reduced pharyngeal muscle tone and an anatomically narrowed pharyngeal airspace. We describe 2 cases of aberrant internal carotid arteries that were diagnosed during evaluations of patients with suspected OSA. It is possible that these anatomic anomalies contributed to airspace narrowing in these patients. These 2 cases represent an interesting presentation of sleep apnea, and they provide a reminder of the importance of clinically recognizing carotid artery aberrations in order to avoid arterial damage during routine oropharyngeal procedures.

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