Association of obstructive sleep apnea with all-cause readmissions after hospitalization for asthma exacerbation in adults aged 18-54 years: a population-based study, 2010-2013

J Asthma. 2021 Sep;58(9):1176-1185. doi: 10.1080/02770903.2020.1781887. Epub 2020 Jun 26.


Objective: To investigate associations between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and readmission risk after hospitalization for asthma exacerbation.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective, population-based cohort study using State Inpatient Databases from seven U.S. states (Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, and Utah) from 2010 to 2013. We identified all adults (aged 18-54 years) hospitalized for asthma exacerbation. The outcome measure was all-cause readmissions within one year after hospitalization for asthma exacerbation. To determine associations between OSA and readmission risk, we constructed negative binomial regression models estimating the incidence rate ratio (IRR) for readmissions and Cox proportional hazards models estimating hazard rate (HR) for the time-to-first readmission.

Results: Among 65,731 patients hospitalized for asthma exacerbation, 6,549 (10.0%) had OSA. Overall, OSA was associated with significantly higher incident rate of all cause readmission (1.36 vs. 0.85 readmissions per person-year; unadjusted IRR 1.60; 95%CI 1.54-1.66). Additionally, OSA was associated with higher incident rates of readmissions for five major diseases-asthma (IRR 1.21; 95%CI 1.15-1.27), COPD (IRR 2.03; 95%CI 1.88-2.19), respiratory failure (IRR 3.04; 95%CI 2.76-3.34), pneumonia (IRR 1.67; 95%CI 1.49-1.88), and congestive heart failure (IRR 3.78; 95%CI 3.36-4.24), compared to non-OSA. The Cox model demonstrated that patients with OSA had significantly higher rates for all-cause readmission compared to those without OSA (HR 1.56; 95% CI 1.50-1.62). These associations remained significant after adjustment for confounders.

Conclusions: The observed association of OSA with a higher risk of readmissions after hospitalization for asthma exacerbation underscores the importance of identifying coexistent OSA in this population and optimizing both OSA and asthma management.

Keywords: COPD; Obstructive sleep apnea; asthma; heart failure; pneumonia; readmission; respiratory failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult