AIIMS researchers identify sleep apnea as possible risk factor for COVID complications

The researchers analysed the overnight sleep study consisting of the brain waves and respiratory patterns of the patients

Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have discovered that obstructive sleep apnea is another risk factor for COVID-19 patients.
The study was carried out by a team of researchers from AIIMS Bhopal based on the sleep pattern of 67 patients from the infection.
It was conducted over a period of two months between October and December last year.
The researchers analysed the overnight sleep study consisting of the brain waves and respiratory patterns of the patients.
"The 67 patients who had recovered from COVID-19 infection with oxygen support at our institute's ICU were admitted overnight at our sleep lab, a month after their recovery. The overnight study saw our team studying the brain waves and respiratory pattern of these recovered COVID-19 patients," The New Indian Express quoted Dr Abhishek Goyal, Additional Professor, Pulmonary Medicine Department, AIIMS Bhopal as saying.
OSA increases the possibility of hypertension, blood sugar, depression, heart attack and paralysis by two to three times
The results were startling, as barring two of the 67 COVID recovered patients, all were found to be suffering from mild to severe OSA. Seventy percent of them were found with moderate-severe OSA, he said.
Representational image.
Image: Representational image.
This research was carried out by a team of researchers, including Dr Khushboo Saxena and Dr Avishek Kar at the AIIMS-Bhopal's Sleep Lab.
The findings were further corroborated with the responses to the questionnaires given by 250 COVID-19 patients (admitted in the same period in AIIMS-Bhopal) who also informed the researchers about sleep-related problems.
Dr Goyal said study has not only revealed that critical COVID-19 patients on oxygen support showed higher probability of being afflicted with OSA, but also brought to the fore for the first time that OSA is actually a significant risk factor for COVID-19 related complications, along with other well-known risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart-related ailments and old age.
OSA increases the possibility of hypertension, blood sugar, depression, heart attack and paralysis by two to three times.
"This is the first study across the world in which COVID-19 patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) underwent sleep study after recovery. It has clearly indicated the role of sleep as a factor associated with the severity of COVID infection. The study has also indicated direct correlation between obesity and OSA, as most of the subjects who were found afflicted with OSA were obese," Dr Goyal said.



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