Obstructive Sleep Apnea Linked to Pneumonia Risk — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 4, 2014

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Linked to Pneumonia Risk

By Kelly Young

Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with incident pneumonia, according to a CMAJ study.

Using insurance databases, researchers in Taiwan matched nearly 7000 adults with newly diagnosed sleep apnea to 27,000 controls without apnea. Over 4.5 years of follow-up, patients with sleep apnea had a 19% increased risk for a pneumonia diagnosis, compared with controls. Patients who required use of continuous positive airway pressure had a higher pneumonia risk than apnea patients who didn't use CPAP.

The authors say apnea could increase a patient's aspiration risk, and sleep disturbances could affect immunity. For patients receiving CPAP treatment, they note, "every effort should be made to minimize the risk of pneumonia, such as enhanced cleaning of CPAP tubing and humidifier, and vigilance if recurrent pneumonia is noted."

Reader Comments (3)


This study is interesting and the results, albeit not surprising, should be diffused.

ELMER VILLALON Physician, Dentistry, Pueblo Colorado

would like to read more

Edward Grandi Other, Other

This is an important study to publicize. The concern is that patients will stop using therapy instead of being more conscious of keeping the equipment clean.

Perhaps this suggests the mask, hose and filters replaced at no cost to the patient as a part of a value based insurance design.

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