Clinical presentation of obstructive sleep apnea in patients with end-stage renal disease

J Clin Sleep Med. 2009 Apr 15;5(2):115-21.


Study objectives: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is common in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and is largely underrecognized. Our objective was to determine whether the presentation of OSA in patients with ESRD differs from the stereotypical presentation in the general population (loud snoring, witnessed apnea, and daytime sleepiness in overweight, middle-aged men).

Methods: Seventy-six chronic dialysis patients with OSA were compared to 380 OSA patients with normal renal function who were matched for apnea severity (apnea-hypopnea index). All patients underwent overnight polysomnography and completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and a questionnaire to assess symptoms of OSA.

Results: Age and gender distribution were similar between groups, however, body mass index was lower in the ESRD group (28 +/- 5 vs. 33 +/- 14 kg/m2). Patients with ESRD were less likely to report snoring (80% vs. 98%), witnessed apnea during sleep (32% vs. 58%), unrefreshing sleep (55% vs. 73%), and morning headaches (15% vs. 27%). Overnight polysomnography revealed less intense snoring and more sleep disturbance in patients with ESRD. The prevalence and severity of self-reported daytime sleepiness was similar between groups.

Conclusions: The presenting symptoms of patients with ESRD and documented OSA differed from a control group of OSA patients matched for AHI. This suggests that the presentation of ESRD patients with OSA may differ from the general population, and this should be appreciated to avoid underdiagnosis of this important comorbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Polysomnography*
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Snoring