Pamela L. Lutsey, PhD, MPH Minneapolis, Minnesota Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health School of Public Health University of Minnesota

Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea Associated with Increased Risk of Hospitalization with Pneumonia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pamela L. Lutsey, PhD, MPHMinneapolis, Minnesota
Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of Minnesota

Dr. Lutsey

Pamela L. Lutsey, PhD, MPH
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of Minnesota

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Emerging evidence suggests that patients with OSA may be more susceptible to developing pneumonia. Mechanistically, OSA causes upper airway sensory dysfunction and excessive microaspirations, which can result in significant increases in bacterial organisms in the airway leading to upper airway and laryngeal inflammation. Systemically, healthy sleep is believed to play an important role in the body’s inflammation control and immune system regulation. Despite this evidence, few studies have prospectively evaluated whether individuals with OSA are at elevated risk of being hospitalized with pneumonia, respiratory infection, or any infection

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response:  In a community-based sample of nearly 1,600 individuals, we found that compared to individuals with a normal sleep breathing pattern, those with severe obstructive sleep apnea were at 87% higher risk of hospitalization with pneumonia, 47% higher risk of hospitalization with respiratory infection, and 48% higher risk of hospitalization with any infection. These associations persisted after accounting for demographics and lifestyle behaviors, including smoking. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Severe OSA was independently associated with increased risk of hospitalization with pneumonia and other infections in a community-based sample of older adults. Through appropriate OSA screening in primary care settings and subsequent treatment of OSA, it may be possible to reduce the rate of hospitalizations due to pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Additionally, OSA patients may benefit from more aggressive efforts to prevent pneumonia and other infectious conditions.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?

Response: Intervention studies are needed to determine if screening for OSA and treating severe OSA in the primary care setting will lower the risk of hospitalization due to pneumonia and other infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

No disclosures

Citation:

Obstructive sleep apnea and subsequent risk of hospitalization with pneumonia, respiratory infection, and total infection: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

Pamela L. Lutsey, PhD, Islam Zineldin, MD, Jeffrey R. Misialek, MPH, Logan Cowan, PhD, Kunihiro Matsushita, MD, PhD
Ryan T. Demmer, PhD, Show all authors

Published:November 25, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2022.11.028

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