Hospital outcomes in non-surgical patients identified at risk for OSA

Sikandar H. Khan, Shalini Manchanda, Ninotchka L. Sigua, Erika Green, Philani B. Mpofu, Siu Hui, Babar A. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: In-hospital respiratory outcomes of non-surgical patients with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), particularly those with significant comorbidities are not well defined. Undiagnosed and untreated OSA may be associated with increased cardiopulmonary morbidity. Study objectives: Evaluate respiratory failure outcomes in patients identified as at-risk for OSA by the Berlin Questionnaire (BQ). Methods: This was a retrospective study conducted using electronic health records at a large health system. The BQ was administered at admission to screen for OSA to medical-service patients under the age of 80 years old meeting the following health system criteria: (1) BMI greater than 30; (2) any of the following comorbid diagnoses: hypertension, heart failure, acute coronary syndrome, pulmonary hypertension, arrhythmia, cerebrovascular event/stroke, or diabetes. Patients with known OSA or undergoing surgery were excluded. Patients were classified as high-risk or low-risk for OSA based on the BQ score as follows: low-risk (0 or 1 category with a positive score on the BQ); high-risk (2 or more categories with a positive score on BQ). The primary outcome was respiratory failure during index hospital stay defined by any of the following: orders for conventional ventilation or intubation; at least two instances of oxygen saturation less than 88% by pulse oximetry; at least two instances of respiratory rate over 30 breaths per minute; and any orders placed for non-invasive mechanical ventilation without a previous diagnosis of sleep apnea. Propensity scores were used to control for patient characteristics. Results: Records of 15,253 patients were assessed. There were no significant differences in the composite outcome of respiratory failure by risk of OSA (high risk: 11%, low risk: 10%, p = 0.55). When respiratory failure was defined as need for ventilation, more patients in the low-risk group experienced invasive mechanical ventilation (high-risk: 1.8% vs. low-risk: 2.3%, p = 0.041). Mortality was decreased in patients at high-risk for OSA (0.86%) vs. low risk for OSA (1.53%, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Further prospective studies are needed to understand the contribution of undiagnosed OSA to in-hospital respiratory outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-116
Number of pages5
JournalHeart and Lung
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Health outcomes
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Respiratory failure
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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