Sleep apnea linked to COVID-19 outcomes
The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is higher in people with obstructive sleep apnea and other breathing problems that cause oxygen levels to drop during sleep, researchers say. While periodic episodes of not-breathing while asleep – leading to low oxygen levels, or hypoxia – did not increase people’s chances of being infected, sleep-related hypoxia did increase infected patients’ odds of needing to be hospitalized or dying from COVID-19, Drs. Cinthya Pena Orbea and Reena Mehra of the Cleveland Clinic and colleagues reported on Wednesday in JAMA Network Open. It is not clear if treatments that improve sleep apnea, such as CPAP machines that push air into patients’ airways during sleep, would also reduce the risk of severe COVID-19, said Pena Orbea and Mehra.