The familial aggregation of obstructive sleep apnea

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1995 Mar;151(3 Pt 1):682-7. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/151.3_Pt_1.682.


An inherited basis for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) has been suggested by reports of families with multiple affected members and by a previous study of the familial aggregation of symptoms of SDB. In this study, we quantify and characterize the aggregation of SDB and assess the degree to which familial similarities may be independent of obesity. This was a genetic-epidemiologic study that assessed the distribution of SDB in families identified through a proband with diagnosed sleep apnea and among families in the same community with no relative with known sleep apnea. SDB was assessed with overnight in-home monitoring of airflow, oxygen saturation, chest wall impedance, heart rate, and body movement. Standardized questionnaires were used to assess symptoms, and weight, height, and neck circumference were measured directly. Intergenerational and intragenerational correlation coefficients and pairwise odds ratios (ORs) were calculated with adjustment for proband sampling. In toto, 561 members of 91 families were studied: (1) 47 subjects with laboratory-confirmed SDB (index probands), (2) 44 community control subjects, and (3) the spouses and relatives of 1 and 2. Of all 91 families, 32 (35%) had two or more members with SDB, 30 (33%) had one affected member, and 29 had no affected members. SDB was more prevalent in the relatives of index probands (21%) than among neighborhood control subjects (12%) (p = 0.02).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck / anatomy & histology
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Odds Ratio
  • Polysomnography
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / genetics*