Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2008 Dec;15(2):67-70.

Overlap Syndrome: Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonology, Busan St. Mary's Medical Center, Busan, Korea.


Overlap syndrome can be defined as a coexistence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (SAHS). The association of COPD and SAHS has been suspected because of the frequency of both diseases. Prevalence of COPD and SAHS is respectively 10 and 5% of the adult population over 40 years of age. However, a recent study has shown that the prevalence of SAHS is not higher in COPD than in the general population. The coexistence of the two diseases is only due to chance. SAHS does not affect the pathophysiology of COPD and vice versa. Prevalence of overlap syndrome is expected to occur in about 0.5% of the adult population over 40 years of age. Patients with overlap syndrome have a more profound hypoxemia, hypercapnia, and pulmonary hypertension when compared with patients with SAHS alone or usual COPD patients without SAHS. To treat the overlap syndrome, nocturnal noninvasive ventilation (NIV) or nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) can be applied with or without nocturnal oxygen supplement.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (SAHS); Overlap syndrome
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