PURPOSE: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common medical condition that disproportionately affects patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). Unlike the general population, a SCD patient’s likelihood of OSA is unrelated to Body Mass Index (BMI). There are few studies that assess the risk of OSA in the SCD population.
METHODS: A retrospective study using historical data was used to identify SCD patients who were referred to the Sleep Laboratory at our institution during a two-year period. Characteristics of the SCD patients, including BMI, Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), % sleep time with oxygen saturation ≤89% and whether a diagnosis of OSA was made, were identified and analyzed.
RESULTS: SCD patients referred to the Sleep Lab had a mean age of 12.5 years and mean BMI of 19.1. Overall, 67% of these SCD patients were diagnosed with OSA. The risk of OSA was unrelated to obesity as mean BMI for SCD patients with OSA was 16.9 compared to a mean BMI of 22.9 in SCD patients with no OSA. BMI was also significantly lower among SCD patients with OSA compared to the general population. SCD patients with OSA had a mean AHI of 4.3 and a mean % sleep time with oxygen saturation ≤89% of 27%, suggesting a higher degree of desaturation compared to other OSA patients.
CONCLUSION: This study confirms that OSA among SCD patients is high, and, unlike the general population, the presence of OSA in SCD patients is unrelated to obesity or elevated BMI. SCD patients with OSA have a higher degree of desaturation than other OSA patients. The reason for a higher degree of desaturation among this special population is not yet fully understood.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: The degree of desaturation in OSA in the SCD population is significant. Greater emphasis on screening and evaluation is warranted within the SCD community, and more research is necessary to identify the mechanisms involved in OSA in SCD patients.
DISCLOSURE: JoAnn Eng, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information