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Clinical Challenges in Otolaryngology
November 2001

More Information Needed About the Long-term Health Consequences of Mild to Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Author Affiliations




Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001;127(11):1400-1401. doi:10.1001/archotol.127.11.1400

Dr Walker presents a concise review of the published literature on the long-term health consequences of mild to moderate OSA. This is an important topic, as Young et al1 estimate that 2% of women and 4% of men aged 30 to 60 years have OSA, sometimes referred to as SDB. These patients will often seek medical care from otolaryngologists. Numerous studies document the short-term effects of OSA, including pathologic sleepiness, hypersomnolence, and increased motor vehicle crashes.26 There is also good evidence of the health consequences of severe OSA. However, as Dr Walker states, there is controversy over whether mild to moderate OSA causes adverse health consequences. In a previous publication, my colleagues and I defined the methodological problems that prevent accurate assessments of the efficacy of surgical interventions for OSA.7 In this commentary, I will explain how the multiple methodological problems in clinical research helped to create this controversy over whether mild to moderate OSA leads to long-term health consequences.

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