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Sleep. 1991 Dec;14(6):486-95.

Sleep-disordered breathing in community-dwelling elderly.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego.


These are the final results of a survey of sleep-disordered breathing, which examined objective and subjective information from a large randomly selected elderly sample. We randomly selected 427 elderly people aged 65 yr and over in the city of San Diego, California. Twenty-four percent had an apnea index, AI, greater than or equal to 5 and 62% had a respiratory disturbance index, RDI, greater than or equal to 10. Correlates of sleep-disordered breathing included high relative weight and reports of snoring, breathing cessation at night, nocturnal wandering or confusion, daytime sleepiness and depression. Body mass index, falling asleep at inappropriate times, male gender, no alcohol within 2 hr of bedtime and napping were the best predictors of sleep-disordered breathing. Despite statistical significance, all of the associations between interview variables and apnea indices were small. No combination of demographic variables and symptoms allowed highly reliable prediction of AI or RDI.

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