Author(s): Yang EH, Hla KM, McHorney CA, Havighurst T, Badr MS,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of sleep apnea (SA) on the quality of life (QOL). DESIGN: A prospective study of QOL in patients with and without SA as defined by an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) >5. SETTING: University-based outpatient clinics. PATIENTS: Primary care patients followed in a general internal medicine clinic as well as those referred to a sleep disorders clinic at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics were consecutively recruited and classified into 3 groups of subjects: (1) patients without SA (AHI<5) (n=46), (2) patients with mild SA (AHI 5-15) (n=16), and (3) patients with moderate to severe SA (AHI>15) (n=21). INTERVENTIONS: NA. MEASUREMENTS: QOL was assessed with the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36 Health Survey. Health history and demographic data were obtained via structured interview and medical record review. All subjects underwent overnight polysomnography for diagnosis of SA. RESULTS: After controlling for age, gender, body mass index, and number of comorbid conditions, the association between sleep apnea and QOL was significant in the domains of physical functioning and role limitation due to physical health problems (p<0.05) and was borderline in vitality (p<0.1). Patients with both mild and moderately severe SA scored significantly lower (worse) than did patients without SA in physical functioning and in role limitations due to physical-health (82 and 83 vs. 92, respectively). Moderate to severe SA subjects scored significantly lower in vitality than did subjects without SA (51 vs. 64, p<0.05). Subscales analysis revealed that subjects with moderate to severe SA had significantly lower scores that did those without SA in positive affect (69 vs. 79), current health perceptions (71 vs. 80) and vitality (50 vs. 70), p<0.05 for all comparisons. A large percentage of patients without SA had perfect scores of 100 (ceiling effect) on the physical, social, and role functioning scales. CONCLUSIONS: SA has an independent impact on several QOL domains after adjusting for differences in age, gender, body mass index, and comorbidity. QOL outcomes were likely attenuated by ceiling effects. Disentangling the scales that measure multidimensional QOL (positive and negative aspects) enhanced the ability of the SF-36 to detect important consequences of sleep apnea on QOL.
This article was published in Sleep
and referenced in Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy