Korean J Otolaryngol-Head Neck Surg.  2004 Dec;47(12):1247-1250.

A Comparative Study between Male and Female Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Saint Benedict Hospital, Busan, Korea. chief123@chollian.net
  • 2Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, Pusan National University, Busan, Korea.


OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) is considered a disorder that occurs predominantly in men. A thorough understanding of the sex difference in OSA can help the medical community in consultation, diagnosis and treatment of the diseases. So, differences between female and male should be taken into consideration in further evaluation and management of OSA. SUBJECTS AND METHOD: Three hundred and sixteen patients (47 women and 269 men), diagnosed as having OSA based on polysomnography (PSG) in the sleep disorder clinic between July 1994 and December 2002, were evaluated retrospectively. RESULTS: Female patients were older and had less severe OSA than men. In the group of patients showing the similar degree of sleep apnea measured according to RDI, female patients were significantly older, with more of them in the postmenopausal age; there were no difference with respect to obesity, except for the severe group. In the group of patients having the same age and obesity, males had more severe apnea, but females tended to have severe apnea over the age of 50. In terms of subjective symptoms, male patients noted more severe OSA symptom, daytime fatigue, attention deficiency than female patients, who noted morning headache and depression more often than their counterpart. CONCLUSION: Female patients showed less morbidity than male patients and also tended to be more obese. Current clinical evaluation of OSA must take into account this gender disparity


Obstructive sleep apnea; Polysomnography
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