People who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) could be at increased risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19. Many of the risk factors and comorbidities associated with sleep apnea, such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, are similar to those associated with poor COVID-19 outcomes. However, the researchers wanted to investigate whether being diagnosed with OSA conferred an additional risk on top of those factors.
The systematic review looked at 18 studies up to June 2020 with regards to OSA and COVID-19. Eight were mainly related to the risk of death from COVID-19 and 10 were related to diagnosis, treatment, and management of sleep apnea. Although few studies of OSA in COVID-19 had been performed at the time, there is evidence to suggest that many patients who presented to intensive care had OSA, and in diabetic patients, it may confer an increased risk that is independent of other risk factors.