Quality of life in obstructive sleep apnea: a systematic review of the literature

Sleep Med. 2001 Nov;2(6):477-91. doi: 10.1016/s1389-9457(01)00072-7.


Objective: To review the literature on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Background: OSA affects nearly one in four men and one in ten women aged 30-60 years in the United States. Health consequences of OSA can include neuropsychiatric and cardiovascular sequela that disrupt professional, family, and social life and negatively impact HRQOL.

Methods: We conducted a comprehensive review of the literature on HRQOL and OSA, with special attention paid to instruments developed specifically for OSA.

Results: Generic instruments used to study HRQOL and OSA include: Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36, Nottingham Health Profile, Sickness Impact Profile, Functional Limitations Profile, EuroQol, and Munich Life Quality Dimension List. Specific instruments include: Calgary Sleep Apnea Quality of Life Instrument, Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire, OSA Patient Oriented Severity Index, the OSA-18, and Cohen's pediatric OSA surgery quality of life questionnaire.

Conclusions: OSA patients have impaired HRQOL when compared with healthy age- and gender-matched controls. Treatment with continuous positive airway pressure appears to improve HRQOL. Other treatment modalities have not been rigorously studied. In addition, more data are needed from preference-based measures that allow conversion to utility scores, which can be used to calculate quality-adjusted life years and cost-effectiveness ratios.