Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2005 Jun;12(1):39-44.

Characteristics of Sleep Apnea Syndrome in the Elderly in a Clinical Setting

  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.


Much attention has been paid to sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) in the elderly because of its high prevalence. It is expected that SAS in the elderly has both similarities and differences compared to SAS in the young or middle-aged populations. The aim of this study was to elucidate the characteristics and consequences of SAS in the elderly. METHODS: In this study we included 210 young or middle-aged adults between 23 and 59 years (20 women and 190 men) and 65 older adults between 60 and 83 years of age (16 women and 49 men). Respiratory disturbance indices (RDIs) of the study subjects were more than 5 in an overnight polysomnography. They completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Informations about body mass index (BMI), neck, waist, and hip measurements, and blood pressure were obtained. RESULTS: No difference was observed between older adults with SAS (older SAS) and adults aged under 60 with SAS (SAS aged under 60) in RDI, apnea index, % time of oxygen saturation less than 90%, and PSQI. Obstructive apnea index and oxygen desaturation index (ODI) were lower in older SAS. Compared to SAS aged under 60, lowest oxygen saturation and central apnea index were higher in older SAS, but they were statistically not significant. BMI and neck circumference were significantly lower in older SAS compared to SAS aged under 60. Diastolic blood pressure was lower in older SAS compared to SAS aged under 60 with no difference in systolic blood pressure. Older SAS showed lower scores in ESS than SAS aged under 60. Significant correlation was observed between RDI and BMI in SAS aged under 60, but not in the case of older SAS. The relationships between RDI and neck circumference, systolic and diastolic pressure, and ESS were similar. CONCLUSIONS: The elderly with SAS were not over-weight and there was no relationship between body weight and the severity of SAS. Also, the behavioral and cardiovascular effects of SAS were not marked in the elderly, which might be partly explained by decreased ODI and relatively higher lowest oxygen saturation in older SAS. The normal aging process, aside from increased body weight, might contribute to the development of SAS in the elderly with modest complications.


Sleep apnea syndrome; Elderly; Body mass index; Blood pressure; Epworth sleepiness scale

MeSH Terms

Blood Pressure
Body Mass Index
Body Weight
Sleep Apnea Syndromes*
Sleep Apnea, Central
Full Text Links
  • SMP
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
    DB Error: unknown error