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Arq Bras Cardiol. 2015 Jan;104(1):58-66. doi: 10.5935/abc.20140172. Epub 2014 Nov 18.

Death and disability in patients with sleep apnea--a meta-analysis.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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Departamento de Fisiologia Clínica, Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.



Several studies have been attempting to ascertain the risks of Sleep Apnea Syndrome (SAS) and its morbidity and mortality.


The main objective was to verify whether SAS increases the risk of death; the secondary objective was to evaluate its morbidity in relation to cardiovascular disease and the number of days hospitalized.


A systematic review and a meta-analysis were performed of the published literature. The research focused on studies comparing the number of deaths in patients with untreated SAS and in patients with non-SAS.


The meta-analysis was based on 13 articles, corresponding to a total of 13394 participants divided into two groups (non-SAS = 6631; SAS = 6763). The meta-analysis revealed a clear association of SAS with the occurrence of fatal events, where the presence of SAS corresponded to a 61% higher risk of total mortality (OR=1.61; CI: 1.43 - 1.81; p < 0.00001), while the risk of death from cardiac causes was 2.52 times higher in these patients (OR = 2.52; IC: 1.80 - 3.52; p < 0.00001). Similar results were obtained for mortality from other causes (OR = 1.68; CI: 1.08 - 2.61; p = 0.02). Resembling results were obtained in the remaining outcomes: non-fatal cardiovascular events were higher in the SAS group (OR = 2.46; IC: 1.80 - 3.36; p < 0.00001), the average number of days hospitalized was also higher in the SAS group (IV = 18.09; IC: 13.34 - 22.84; p < 0.00001).


The results show that untreated SAS significantly increases the risk of death, cardiovascular events and the average number of days hospitalized.

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