Severity of Sleep Apnea and COVID-19 Illness

Meryl B. Kravitz, Elizabeth Yakubova, Nick Yu, Steven Y. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To characterize the relationship between severity of sleep apnea and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) hospitalization and severe illness. Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: Montefiore Health System in the Bronx, New York. Methods: The data set consisted of adult patients with an active diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea in the past 2 years and a positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 quantitative polymerase chain reaction test at our institution between March 16, 2020, and May 26, 2020. Sleep apnea severity and continuous positive airway pressure compliance data were abstracted from the electronic medical record. The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision was used to classify comorbidities. Results: A total of 461 patients with sleep apnea tested positive for COVID-19, of whom 149 were excluded for missing data in the electronic medical record. Patients with moderate and severe sleep apnea had higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalization compared to those with mild sleep apnea (P =.003). This association was reduced when accounting for confounders, most notably the Charlson Comorbidity Index, a measure of comorbid illness burden. Moderate and severe sleep apnea were associated with increased Charlson Comorbidity Indices, compared to mild sleep apnea (P =.01). Sleep apnea severity was not associated with a composite outcome of mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit admission, and death. Conclusion: Sleep apnea severity was associated with the Charlson Comorbidity Index and may be a risk factor for COVID-19 hospitalization. We found no evidence that sleep apnea severity among hospitalized patients was associated with a composite outcome of mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit admission, and death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOTO Open
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • obstructive sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Severity of Sleep Apnea and COVID-19 Illness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this