Association between polysomnographic sleep measures and health-related quality of life in obstructive sleep apnea
Many facets of health-related quality of life are diminished in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as they are in other chronic medical conditions. We speculated that impairment in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) might result from the fatigue and daytime somnolence associated with the sleep disorder, as an indirect result from the fragmentation of night-time sleep in OSA. Our hypothesis was that sleep fragmentation measures would correlate with poorer HRQoL measured by medical outcomes study (MOS) subscales. Thirty-nine patients with polysomnographically-confirmed OSA participated in this study. Pearson’s correlations were performed with the following sleep architecture variables: wake after sleep onset, the total number of brief arousals, the number of respiratory-related arousals, the rate of respiratory events per hour, and total sleep time. To our surprise, although the total number of arousals was associated with health distress (r=–0.481, P < 0.005), it did not correlate with any other subscales indicating poorer physical and mental health. The relatively insensitive measure of total sleep time (TST) correlated in the expected direction with most subscales. However, after controlling for age and gender, respiratory disturbance indices (RDI) and/or number of arousals emerged as significantly associated with mobility, cognitive functioning, social functioning, energy and fatigue, and health distress. Our findings suggest that polysomnographic indicators of sleep quality and sleep continuity may be an important influence determining many aspects of HRQoL in OSA patients.