Check out the redesigned Sleeping Disorders Centre website - New study shows severe OSA increases the risk of Covid-19 infection but reduces CPAP risk - Sleeping Disorders Centre moves to online clinics - Try the Snore Centre Mobile App
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Snore Centre eNewsletter June 2021

Check out the redesigned Sleeping Disorders Centre website 

New study shows severe OSA increases the risk of Covid-19 infection but CPAP reduces risk

The more severe a patient's obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the greater their risk of contracting COVID-19, according to research presented at the ATS 2021 International Conference. The study also found that the longer patients used positive airway pressure (PAP) each night, the more they lowered their COVID-19 risk.

Dennis Hwang, MD, medical director KP SBC Sleep Medicine, Kaiser Permanente and co-chair, sleep medicine, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, and colleagues examined a database of patients who were evaluated for sleep disorders by Kaiser Permanente Southern California between 2015 and 2020. They looked at COVID-19 infection rates and all-cause hospitalizations and mortality based on OSA status and whether patients adhered to PAP therapy.

The medical records of 81,932 patients were included in the analysis. 1,493 patients had confirmed COVID-19 infection, with 224 hospitalizations. Sixty-one of the COVID-hospitalized patients were in the ICU and/or died. The authors stated, "'Untreated' OSA (and increasing OSA severity) was associated with higher COVID-19 rate and lower rate when 'treated.' Greater PAP adherence, when therapy was used at least four hours a night during the pandemic period, also showed a reduced infection rate.

Surprisingly, although the elderly are generally more susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), increasing age in the study was associated with reduced infection rate. "We were also surprised that OSA patients with high adherence with PAP had lower infection rates than patients who did not even have OSA," Dr. Hwang stated. "This further supports a direct physiologic benefit of PAP therapy."

"We believe that the relationship between OSA and higher risk of COVID-19 infection may be due to both biological and behavioral factors," said Dr. Hwang. "The higher rate of infection with more severe OSA and the shared medical risk factors between OSA and COVID-19 such as male gender, obesity and presence of cardiovascular diseases supports a biological influence, perhaps through impact on respiratory function, airway inflammation and sleep fragmentation. On the other hand, while older age clearly increases COVID-19 severity, our finding that older age was associated with a reduced infection rate support a behavioral explanation. Patients with OSA tend to be older, and older patients may be more adherent to social distancing, masking and less risky social behaviors."

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Sleeping Disorders Centre moves to online clinics

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 attending hospitals and clinics in person has been difficult and potentially involves the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus. Therefore, the Sleeping Disorders Centre's services are now available  online for both NHS and private patients.

We are able to deliver the same high quality service either via telephone or online, organising all aspects of care remotely: including sleep studies, diagnosis, CPAP fitting, delivery, maintenance and long-term care.

This means that people suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea and other sleep-related and ENT conditions are still able to access first class care from Mr. Oko, Professor Dhillon and the rest of our clinical team. Our mission to raise awareness of the suffering caused by sleep apnoea, and enable those affected to live normal lives through fast diagnosis and effective treatment, is still continuing depite the challenges of the pandemic.

The Sleeping Disorders Centre's private clinic has moved from Harley Street to The London Digestive Centre, in partnership with HCA Healthcare. All appointments with Mr. Oko are taking place by phone or online, and in person appointments continuing with Prof. Dhillon.

Contact details

Private patients
The London Digestive Centre
41 Welbeck Street
Telephone: 020 3797 7248


Michael Oko speaks to Look North about how to stay healthy in case of COVID-19 infection

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