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Obstructive Sleep Apnea May Raise Risk for Sudden Death

Meta-analysis shows sleep apnea linked to increased risk for sudden death, cardiovascular mortality

MONDAY, Aug. 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a risk factor for all-cause mortality and cardiac mortality, according to a review recently published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research.

Emily S. Heilbrunn, from Penn State Health in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to estimate the risk for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in individuals with OSA.

Based on 22 observational studies (42,099 participants), the researchers found that OSA was associated with all-cause sudden death (relative risk [RR], 1.74; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.44 to 2.10) and cardiovascular mortality (RR, 1.94; 95 percent CI, 1.39 to 2.70). There was a marginally significant dose-response relationship between severity of OSA and the risk for death (P for interaction = 0.05): mild OSA (RR, 1.16; 95 percent CI, 0.70 to 1.93), moderate OSA (RR, 1.72; 95 percent CI, 1.11 to 2.67), and severe OSA (RR, 2.87; 95 percent CI, 1.70 to 4.85). Older age was a significant contributing factor in the relationship between OSA and mortality.

“This study highlights the importance of appropriate prevention measures to reduce the incidence of OSA and OSA-related sudden death,” Heilbrunn said in a statement. “Providing accessible and affordable treatments for populations with OSA may ultimately reduce adverse health outcomes for these individuals.”

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