Characteristics of Japanese patients with complex sleep apnea syndrome: a retrospective comparison with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Intern Med. 2009;48(6):427-32. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.48.1459. Epub 2009 Mar 16.


Objective: The prevalence of complex sleep apnea syndrome (CompSAS) among Asian patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) has not yet been reported. Distinguishing CompSAS from pure OSAS is difficult using only diagnostic polysomnography (PSG). We examined the prevalence of CompSAS in Japanese patients with OSAS and the possibility to distinguish CompSAS from pure OSAS by analyzing the severity of respiratory events based on either sleep body position or sleep stage using a diagnostic PSG.

Patients and methods: A retrospective chart review of 297 consecutive Japanese patients who were 15 years of age or older with a primary diagnosis of OSAS who were referred for CPAP titration (AHI> or =20 events/hr).

Results: Seventeen patients (5.7%) out of the 297 patients who had an obstructive apnea hypopnea index (AHI) of 20 or higher showed adverse increases in central apnea index (CAI) by the treatment with CPAP whereas obstructive apnea index (OAI) and mixed apnea index (MAI) were significantly decreased. In the results, the AHI on the PSG for CPAP titration reached only approximately half of the values on the diagnostic PSG. In these CompSAS patients, both the total CAI and the CAI in the supine position during NREM sleep on the diagnostic PSG were significantly higher than those in the OSAS group. The sleep body position did not so strongly affect the AHI, OAI and MAI in the CompSAS group. Multiple, stepwise, and logistic regression analyses revealed that the CAI in the supine position during NREM (p=0.026) was a significant variable to distinguish CompSAS from OSAS statistically although the variables were within the normal range.

Conclusion: The prevalence of CompSAS in Japanese OSAS patients may be lower when compared with Caucasian patients. The increase of CAI in the supine position during NREM sleep on diagnostic PSG may be a characteristic feature in CompSAS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Posture
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sleep, REM / physiology*