An official american thoracic society research statement: Impact of mild obstructive sleep apnea in adults

Susmita Chowdhuri, Stuart F. Quan, Fernanda Almeida, Indu Ayappa, Salma Batool-Anwar, Rohit Budhiraja, Peggy E. Cruse, Luciano F. Drager, Barbara Griss, Nathaniel Marshall, Sanjay R. Patel, Susheel Patil, Shandra L. Knight, James A. Rowley, Alison Slyman

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Background: Mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a highly prevalent disorder in adults; however, whether mild OSA has significant neurocognitive and cardiovascular complications is uncertain. Objectives: The specific goals of this Research Statement are to appraise the evidence regarding whether long-term adverse neurocognitive and cardiovascular outcomes are attributable to mild OSA in adults, evaluate whether or not treatment of mild OSA is effective at preventing or reducing these adverse neurocognitive and cardiovascular outcomes, delineate the key research gaps, and provide direction for future research agendas. Methods: Literature searches from multiple reference databases were performed using medical subject headings and text words for OSA in adults as well as by hand searches. Pragmatic systematic reviews of the relevant body of evidence were performed. Results: Studies were incongruent in their definitions of "mild" OSA. Data were inconsistent regarding the relationship between mild OSA and daytime sleepiness. However, treatment of mild OSA may improve sleepiness in patients who are sleepy at baseline and improve quality of life. There is limited or inconsistent evidence pertaining to the impact of therapy of mild OSA on neurocognition, mood, vehicle accidents, cardiovascular events, stroke, and arrhythmias. Conclusions: There is evidence that treatment of mild OSA in individuals who demonstrate subjective sleepiness may be beneficial. Treatment may also improve quality of life. Future research agendas should focus on clarifying the effect of mild OSA and impact of effective treatment on other neurocognitive and cardiovascular endpoints as detailed in the document.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e37-e54
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2016


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