Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome in siblings: An 8-year swedish follow-up study

Jan Sundquist, Xinjun Li, Danielle Friberg, Kari Hemminki, Kristina Sundquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Understanding the genetic transmission of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) will help clinicians identify patients at risk and offer opportunities for intervention and treatment at specialist clinics. Objective: To estimate familial risk of hospitalization for OSAS in the adult population of Sweden, and to determine if there are any differences by age and sex. Design, Setting, and Participants: Using the MigMed database at the Karolinska Institute, we divided the population of Sweden into sibling groups based on a shared mother and father and ascertained the presence or absence of a primary hospital diagnosis of OSAS in each individual during the follow-up period, 1997 to 2004. Individuals were categorized as having or not having a sibling with OSAS, based on the presence or absence of the disorder in at least 1 of their siblings. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated for men and women with a sibling with OSAS, compared with men and women in the reference group (SIR = 1). Results: After accounting for socioeconomic status, age, geographic region, and period of diagnosis, men with at least 1 sibling who had OSAS had a SIR of 3.42 (95% CI, 2.18-5.36); the corresponding SIR in women was 3.25 (95% CI, 1.84-5.65). Conclusions: Our results indicate that physicians should consider family history of OSAS when deciding whether to refer a patient for further sleep examinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-823
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Heritability
  • Population-based
  • Sibling risk
  • Sleep apnea


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