Hypertensive Patients at Increased Obstructive Sleep Apnea Risk

Previous research has identified obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as an independent risk factor for hypertension, which could adversely impact a patient’s response to antihypertensive medication, yet patients with hypertension are not routinely screened for OSA. A study that was published online as part of the ATS 2020 International Conference examined the prevalence of high risk of OSA and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) among outpatients with hypertension, as well as symptom patterns of OSA among patients with hypertension.

Patients from the outpatient clinics of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital and Enugu State University Teaching Hospital participated in structured interview questionnaires that included symptoms of OSA, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, STOP-BANG score, comorbidities, and demography.

A total of 320 patients with hypertension (mean age, 56.0 years; 58.8% were female) completed questionnaires. The prevalence of high risk for OSA and 13.8%, and 5.9% of patients experienced EDS. Among the 44 patients at high risk of OSA, 68.2% had fragmented night sleep, 56.8% had morning headache, 50.0% had non-refreshing sleep, and 18.2% had abrupt awakening accompanied by gasping or choking at night. Significant differences between low- and high-risk groups were observed in gasping and memory loss.

“Prevalence of high risk of OSA among [patients with hypertension] was moderately high in our cohort. We suggest routine screening for OSA during clinical evaluation of [these] patients,” the study authors concluded.