Rise in nocturnal respiratory rate during CPAP may be an early sign of COVID-19 in patients with obstructive sleep apnea

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J Clin Sleep Med. 2020 Jul 28:jc-20-00338. Online ahead of print.


A middle-aged man with obstructive sleep apnea who had been treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) developed COVID-19. An analysis of airflow records from the CPAP machine revealed a rise in his respiratory rate on the night before the onset of COVID-19-related symptoms, while his nocturnal respiratory rate had been stable during the 18-month period prior to the presently reported episode. The present case suggests that a rise in respiratory rate detected using CPAP machine data could be an important sign of impending acute illness, such as COVID-19. Studies to elucidate the usefulness of this method are warranted.