Researchers at AIIMS Bhopal identify sleep apnea as possible risk factor for COVID complications

The researchers analysed the overnight sleep study consisting of the brain waves and respiratory patterns in 67 patients. 

Published: 11th April 2021 07:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th April 2021 08:20 PM   |  A+A-

Sleep, insomnia, Sleeplessness

Representational image (Express Illustrations)

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: A team of researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has found out that obstructive sleep apnea is another risk factor for COVID-19 patients.

The study, based on the sleep pattern of 67 patients from the infection, was conducted over a period of two months between October and December last year. It was conducted a month after they recovered following the critical treatment at the ICU of AIIMS, Bhopal. 

The researchers analysed the overnight sleep study consisting of the brain waves and respiratory patterns of the patients. 

“The 67 patients who had recovered from COVID-19 infection with oxygen support at our institute’s ICU were admitted overnight at our sleep lab, a month after their recovery. The overnight study saw our team studying the brain waves and respiratory pattern of these recovered COVID-19 patients. The results were startling, as barring two of the 67 COVID recovered patients, all were found to be suffering from mild to severe OSA. Seventy percent of them were found with moderate-severe OSA,” Dr Abhishek Goyal, Additional Professor, Pulmonary Medicine Department, AIIMS Bhopal told The New Indian Express.

This research was carried out by a team of researchers, including  Dr Khushboo Saxena and Dr Avishek Kar at the AIIMS-Bhopal’s Sleep Lab.

The findings were further corroborated with the responses to the questionnaires given by 250 COVID-19 patients (admitted in the same period in AIIMS-Bhopal) who also informed the researchers about sleep-related problems.

“Our study has not only revealed that critical COVID-19 patients on oxygen support showed higher probability of being afflicted with OSA, but also brought to the fore for the first time that OSA is actually a significant risk factor for COVID-19 related complications, along with other well-known risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart-related ailments and old age,” Dr Goyal said.

OSA increases the possibility of hypertension, blood sugar, depression, heart attack and paralysis by two to three times. 

“This is the first study across the world in which COVID-19 patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) underwent sleep study after recovery. It has clearly indicated the role of sleep as a factor associated with the severity of COVID infection. The study has also indicated direct correlation between obesity and OSA, as most of the subjects who were found afflicted with OSA were obese,” Dr Goyal said.

The study has also buttressed the viewpoint of various doctors that undisturbed and sound sleep holds the key to streamlining the immune system of a person. 


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