Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially life threatening sleep disorder in which the airway closes during sleep repeatedly. It is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and deadly heart arrhythmias.
Most obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients are undiagnosed partly as a result of lack of proper access to diagnostic sleep services. This made these researchers (Hirsch Allen A. M., Amram O., Tavakoli H., Almeida F. R., Hamoda M., and Ayas N. T.) hypothesize that potential barrier to accessing diagnostic sleep can take the form of modest travel times from the sleep clinic.
The researchers study was based on determining whether travel times between individual homes and sleep clinic are related to OSA severity at presentation.
Their study used 1275 suspected OSA patients referred to the University of British Columbia Hospital Sleep Clinic between May 2003 and July 2011.
Results of the study’s analysis revealed the role moderate travel times play in the severity of OSA. Meaning role moderate is associated with the severity of OSA. The study also suggested that their study’s result should be verified in other centers as this will aid the establishment of sleep diagnostic centers within a health care system.
This begs the question: Why is sleep apnea worse when you live farther away from a sleep center? Is this due to statistical or demographic phenomenon? Are people heavier, and more likely to have severe sleep disordered breathing the farther away they are from major cities? Answering these questions will help to understand this potentially deadly sleep disorder.
Edited -Dr. Lin