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Thorax 53:631-637 doi:10.1136/thx.53.8.631
  • Original article

Increased mortality among sleepy snorers: a prospective population based study

Abstract

BACKGROUND The long term health consequences of snoring and sleep apnoea syndrome are still uncertain. This study was conducted to assess the mortality risk associated with snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), the two main symptoms of sleep apnoea syndrome, in men.

METHODS In 1984 a sample of 3100 men aged 30–69 responded to a postal questionnaire including questions about snoring, EDS, and the prevalence of various diseases (response rate 77.1%). Mortality data for the period 1985–1995 were collected for the complete sample.

RESULTS During the 10 year follow up period 213 men died, 88 of cardiovascular diseases. Compared with subjects with no snoring or EDS in 1984, men with isolated snoring or EDS displayed no significantly increased mortality. The combination of snoring and EDS was associated with a significant increase in mortality. However, the relative rates decreased with increasing age, and in men aged 60 and above no effect on mortality was found. Men below the age of 60 with both snoring and EDS had an age adjusted total death rate which was 2.7 times higher than men with no snoring or EDS (95% CI 1.6 to 4.5). The corresponding age adjusted hazard ratio for cardiovascular mortality was 2.9 (95% CI 1.3 to 6.7) for subjects with both snoring and EDS. Further adjustment for body mass index and reported hypertension, cardiac disease, and diabetes reduced the relative mortality risk associated with the combination of snoring and EDS to 2.2 (95% CI 1.3 to 3.8) and the relative risk of cardiovascular mortality to 2.0 (95% CI 0.8 to 4.7).

CONCLUSION Snoring without EDS does not appear to carry an increased risk of mortality. The combination of snoring and EDS appears to be associated with an increased mortality rate, but the effects seems to be age dependent. The increased mortality is partly explained by an association between “snoring and EDS” and cardiovascular disease.

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