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Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Comorbid With Mood Disorder: Significantly Higher Incidence Than in Either Diagnosis Alone

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2018;20(4):18m02281
10.4088/PCC.18m02281

Objective: To examine the correlations between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or bipolar disorder (BD) and whether comorbid psychiatric diagnosis increases the risk of OSA.

Methods: This retrospective chart review study included all patients (N = 413) seen within a randomly selected 4-month period (August 2014 to November 2014) in a Veterans Administration outpatient psychiatry clinic. Patients were screened for symptoms of OSA with the STOP-BANG Questionnaire. Those with a positive screen were referred to the sleep clinic for confirmation of the diagnosis by polysomnogram (PSG). Frequency of PSG-confirmed OSA was correlated with different psychiatric disorders and comorbid psychiatric diagnoses.

Results: The study showed a high prevalence of OSA in psychiatric patients, particularly with MDD (37.8%) and PTSD (35.5%) and less so with BD (16.7%). Among all patients with OSA (n = 155), those with comorbid BD and PTSD had a significantly higher rate of OSA than those with BD alone (χ2 = 7.28, P < .05) but not with PTSD alone. We also found a statistically significant higher incidence of OSA in male veterans with either MDD comorbid with PTSD (χ2 = 3.869, P < .05) or BD comorbid with PTSD (χ2 = 6.631, P < .05) compared with either mood disorder or PTSD alone.

Conclusions: The study showed a high prevalence of OSA in psychiatric patients, particularly in those with PTSD and MDD and less so with BD. There was a statistically significant increase in the incidence of OSA in male veterans with either BD with comorbid PTSD or MDD with comorbid PTSD.​​