Objective: This study evaluates the role of hypothyroidism in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by comparing the OSA indices in hypothyroid OSA (OSA-HYPOT) with euthyroid OSA (OSA-EUTHY) patients.
Methods: After literature search in several electronic databases and selection of studies by following eligibility criteria, meta-analyses of mean differences/standardized mean differences were performed to compare OSA indices at the time of diagnosis between OSA-HYPOT and OSA-EUTHY patients. Metaregression analyses were carried out to examine the relationship between age, BMI, sample size, and gender vs OSA indices in OSA-HYPOT patients.
Results: Twelve studies and five case reports recruiting 192 OSA-HYPOT and 1423 OSA-EUTHY patients were included in the meta-analysis. Prevalence (mean ± SD) of clinical hypothyroidism in OSA patients was 8.12 ± 7.13% and that of subclinical hypothyroidism 11.07 ± 8.49%. Apnea-Hypopnea Index, time of sleep with oxygen desaturation <90%, and Epworth Sleepiness Scale were significantly higher in the OSA-HYPOT patients at diagnosis, whereas there was no significant difference in arousal index, respiratory disturbance index and sleeping efficiency between OSA-HYPOT and OSA-EUTHY patients. Body mass index was positively associated with Apnea-Hypopnea Index in OSA-HYPOT patients.
Conclusions: Hypothyroidism is found to be associated with severity of OSA. However, obesity can be a confounder in the outcomes observed herein.
Keywords: Apnea; epworth sleepiness scale; hormonal replacement therapy; hypopnea index; hypothyroidism; obstructive sleep apnea.