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A comparison of the Twin Block and Herbst mandibular advancement splints in the treatment of patients with obstructive sleep apnoea: a prospective study

H. M. Lawton, J. M. Battagel, B. Kotecha
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ejo/cjh067 82-90 First published online: 2 March 2005


This prospective, randomized, crossover study of 16 patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) [12 males, four females; median body mass index (BMI) 29.2 kg/m2 (range 23.8–51.1); median age 44.8 years (range 24.0–68.4)] analysed the efficacy of the Twin Block (TB) in relation to the Herbst appliance as a mandibular advancement splint (MAS). Each subject was fitted with a TB and Herbst MAS in a random order with a washout period of 2 weeks between appliances. Once each patient was subjectively happy with the performance of each appliance, questionnaires and a visual analogue scale (VAS) were used to determine differences in snoring, daytime sleepiness, quality of life, side-effects of the appliances and patient preference. All patients underwent overnight domiciliary sleep recordings prior to and after fitting each appliance in order to objectively assess sleep quality in terms of the apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI), snoring frequency and arterial oxygen saturation.

The results suggested that there was no difference in the treatment performance of the TB and Herbst MAS for AHI (P = 0.71), snoring frequency (P = 0.49), arterial blood oxygen saturation (P = 0.97), quality of life and side-effects. The Herbst MAS proved to be the more effective appliance for reducing daytime sleepiness (P = 0.04) and was the more popular appliance among the patients. Side-effects with both appliances were minor and improved in the longer term. The TB MAS represents a viable alternative to the Herbst MAS in the treatment of patients with OSA.