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Prev Chronic Dis. 2012;9:E46. Epub 2012 Jan 26.

Clinical characteristics, comorbidities, and response to treatment of veterans with obstructive sleep apnea, Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 2005-2007.

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  • 1Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45220, USA.



Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder that is associated with significant morbidity. Veterans may be at an elevated risk for OSA because of increased prevalence of factors associated with the development and progression of OSA. The objective of this study was to determine the clinical characteristics, comorbidities, polysomnographic findings, and response to treatment of veterans with OSA.


We performed a retrospective chart review of 596 patients undergoing polysomnography at the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center from February 2005 through December 2007. We assessed potential correlations of clinical data with polysomnography findings and response to treatment.


Polysomnography demonstrated OSA in 76% of patients; 30% had mild OSA, 23% moderate OSA, and 47% severe OSA. Increasing body mass index, neck circumference, Epworth Sleepiness Scale score, hypertension, congestive heart failure, and type 2 diabetes correlated with increasing OSA severity. Positive airway pressure treatment was initiated in 81% of veterans with OSA, but only 59% reported good adherence to this treatment method. Of the patients reporting good adherence, a greater proportion of those with severe OSA (27%) than with mild or moderate disease (0%-12%) reported an excellent response to treatment.


The prevalence of metabolic and cardiovascular comorbidities increased with increasing OSA severity. Only 59% of treated patients reported good adherence to treatment with positive airway pressure, and response to treatment correlated with OSA severity.

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