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Eur Respir J. 2005 Mar;25(3):514-20.

All-cause mortality in males with sleep apnoea syndrome: declining mortality rates with age.

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  • 1Lloyd Rigler Sleep Apnoea Research Laboratory, B. Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.


The objective of this study was to assess whether an increasing severity of sleep apnoea is associated with increased all-cause mortality hazards and to assess whether the syndrome is associated with excess mortality, in comparison with the general population. Participants included 14,589 adult males, aged 20-93 yrs, referred to the sleep clinics with suspected sleep apnoea or diagnosed with sleep apnoea. Altogether, 372 deaths were recorded after a median follow-up of 4.6 yrs. The crude all-cause mortality rate was 5.55/1,000 patient yrs, increasing with apnoea severity. Cox proportional analysis revealed that both respiratory disturbance index (RDI) and body mass index significantly influenced all-cause mortality hazard but there was no interaction between them. Males with respiratory disturbance index >30 had a significantly higher mortality hazard rate than the reference group of males with RDI < or =10. Comparing mortality rates of males with moderate/severe sleep apnoea to the general population revealed that only males aged <50 yrs showed an excess mortality rate. The hazard of mortality in sleep apnoea increases with apnoea severity as indexed by respiratory disturbance index. Moderate and severe levels of sleep apnoea are moderately associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality, in comparison with the general population, particularly in males aged <50 yrs. The lack of information about possible confounders and treatment effects should be taken into consideration in the interpretation of these results.

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