Obstructive sleep apnea and cardiovascular comorbidities: a large epidemiologic study

Medicine (Baltimore). 2014 Aug;93(9):e45. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000000045.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder, characterized by cyclic cessation of airflow for 10 seconds or more. There is growing awareness that OSA is related to the development and progression of cardiovascular disease. However, only a few studies have associated OSA directly to major cardiovascular events. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between OSA and cardiovascular morbidity in a well defined population of patients.The electronic database of the central district of a major health management organization was searched for all patients diagnosed with OSA in 2002-2010. For each patient identified, an age- and sex-matched patient was randomly selected from the members of the same health management organization who did not have OSA. Data on demographics, socioeconomic status, and relevant medical parameters were collected as well.The study population included 2797 patients, average age 58.1, in which 76.6% were males. There was a significant correlation between OSA and the presence of ischemic heart disease (P < 0.001), pulmonary hypertension (P < 0.001), congestive heart failure (P < 0.001), cardiomyopathy (P = 0.003), and arrhythmia (P < 0.001). OSA was also significantly correlated with low socioeconomic status (P < 0.001).OSA and cardiovascular disease were strongly correlated. As such, early diagnosis and treatment of OSA may change the course of both diseases. We suggest that sleep disordered breathing should be routinely assessed in patients with cardiovascular problems. An ear-nose-throat evaluation may also be important to rule out anatomic disorders that cause upper airway obstruction.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Comorbidity
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology