New Article Highlights Risk of COVID and Obstructive Sleep Apnea Connection

As of Monday, Dec. 14, the first citizens in the United States (outside of clinical trials) started receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. According to reports, the doses are primarily going to hospital front-line workers in all 50 states. It’s positive news, but any “end” to the pandemic is still months, or perhaps a year, in the future.

Meanwhile, clinicians are examining why some people suffer immensely from COVID while others do not.

According to findings in a new article report, they are finding the culprit of OSA, essentially hiding in plain sight.    “A study published earlier this fall titled “Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Risk of COVID-19 Infection, Hospitalization and Respiratory Failure” concluded that patients with OSA were eight times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than others of similar age who’d received care from a Chicago-area health system,” The condition also was associated with increased risk of hospitalization and twice the risk of respiratory failure.

Another recent study “Sleep Apnea and COVID-19 Mortality and Hospitalization”analyzed data on more than 4,500 patients with COVID-19 and found that those with sleep apnea had an increased rate of all-cause mortality.”   

In the article, Lastra calls for additional research to assess the impact of OSA treatment on risk for severe COVID-19 illness. “We also need to educate patients about OSA’s link to severe COVID-19 illness, using venues like the media, community outreach events and virtual activities,” she writes. “This effort needs to aim for health equity and include racial and ethnic minority groups who are at disproportionate risk from COVID-19. With patients as partners, more people can seek evaluation and treatment sooner.” 

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