Background: Several studies have been attempting to ascertain the risks of Sleep Apnea Syndrome (SAS) and its morbidity and mortality.
Objective: The main objective was to verify whether SAS increases the risk of death; the secondary objective was to evaluate its morbidity in relation to cardiovascular disease and the number of days hospitalized.
Methods: A systematic review and a meta-analysis were performed of the published literature. The research focused on studies comparing the number of deaths in patients with untreated SAS and in patients with non-SAS.
Results: The meta-analysis was based on 13 articles, corresponding to a total of 13394 participants divided into two groups (non-SAS = 6631; SAS = 6763). The meta-analysis revealed a clear association of SAS with the occurrence of fatal events, where the presence of SAS corresponded to a 61% higher risk of total mortality (OR=1.61; CI: 1.43 - 1.81; p < 0.00001), while the risk of death from cardiac causes was 2.52 times higher in these patients (OR = 2.52; IC: 1.80 - 3.52; p < 0.00001). Similar results were obtained for mortality from other causes (OR = 1.68; CI: 1.08 - 2.61; p = 0.02). Resembling results were obtained in the remaining outcomes: non-fatal cardiovascular events were higher in the SAS group (OR = 2.46; IC: 1.80 - 3.36; p < 0.00001), the average number of days hospitalized was also higher in the SAS group (IV = 18.09; IC: 13.34 - 22.84; p < 0.00001).
Conclusion: The results show that untreated SAS significantly increases the risk of death, cardiovascular events and the average number of days hospitalized.