Prevalence and risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea in a multiethnic population of patients presenting for bariatric surgery in Singapore

Yeow Hian Lee, Azman Johan, Keith Keat Huat Wong, Natalie Edwards, Colin Sullivan
Sleep Medicine 2009, 10 (2): 226-32

INTRODUCTION: Obesity is becoming more prevalent world wide. Bariatric surgery is one treatment option for patients with severe or morbid obesity. There have been few comprehensive studies examining prevalence and risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in the multiracial Singaporean bariatric surgery population.

METHODS: We performed full polysomnography on 176 consecutive patients undergoing assessment for bariatric surgery. Questionnaires regarding snoring, the presence of witnessed apneas and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) were administered. Anthropometric and demographic measurements include age, sex, race, body mass index (BMI) and neck circumference.

RESULTS: The prevalence of OSA was 72%, and 49% of the 176 patients had an AHI >= 15. There was a male predominance of OSA (X(2) = 29.7; p<0.001). OSA subjects had larger neck circumference (43.9 +/- 4.5 vs. 39.4 cm +/- 3.3; p<0.001) and higher BMI (43.1 +/- 7.6 vs. 39.1 +/- 5.4 kg/m(2); p<0.001). The neck circumference (OR = 1.37; p<0.001), presence of snoring (OR = 8.25; p<0.001) and an ESS >10 (OR = 3.24; p = 0.03) were significant independent predictors of an AHI >= 15. A neck circumference of 43 cm had an 80% sensitivity and 83% specificity for predicting an AHI >= 15.

CONCLUSIONS: OSA is common amongst Singaporeans undergoing evaluation for bariatric surgery, with a high prevalence of moderate and severe disease. An increased neck circumference is a strong independent predictor for an AHI >= 15, with a neck circumference of greater than 43 cm being a sensitive and specific predictor. Race was not found to be a risk factor.

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