Sleep Disorders Common Among Non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis Patients, Study Finds

Sleep Disorders Common Among Non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis Patients, Study Finds

Adults with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis (NCFB) suffer from sleep disorders stemming from less oxygen in the blood, a study shows.

Bronchiectasis is a chronic condition characterized by abnormal widening of airways, which leads to their destruction; a build-up of excess mucus; and a decline in lung function.

Sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, affect 45 percent of the world’s population, experts estimate. About 3 to 7 percent of young men and 2 1/2 percent of young women in the Western world have sleep apnea,  and the risk increases in people with respiratory disorders.

In fact, 9 1/2-14 percent of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have sleep apnea, and 3.9 people of people with cystic fibrosis. A study found that asthma patients were 2 1/2 times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than a control group.

Despite confirmed links between a number of respiratory diseases and sleep disorders, the relationship between bronchiectasis and sleep disorders has not been extensively investigated. So a research team decided to look at the sleep patterns of people with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis.

Their study “Evaluation of obstructive sleep apnea in non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis: A cross-sectional study,” was published in the journal Plos One.

The research involved 49 people diagnosed with NCFB in Sao Paulo, Brazil, between 2013 and 2016. The mean age of the group was 50.

Researchers used standard overnight polysomnography to evaluate the patients’ sleep disorders. Scientists consider it the gold standard for such assessments.

The team evaluated both the patients’ sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness, or EDS.

All patients had obstructive lung disease, a finding consistent with previous studies of sleep apnea.

Most of the patients slept less than normal, the team found.

The researchers discovered that 41 percent of patients had sleep apnea associated with low blood oxygen levels, a condition scientists call oxygen desaturation. Seventy-one percent of patients snored, the team said.

Fifty-three percent of patients experienced excessive daytime sleepiness, a percentage higher than in the general population and among CF adults.

Another finding was that patients with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterial infections had worse levels of oxygen desaturation and more episodes of sleep apnea, and often experienced daytime sleepiness. The reasons, researchers speculated, were declines in lung function and more production of secretions.

Taken together, the results indicated that “adult patients with clinically stable NCFB, especially those infected with PA [Pseudomonas aeruginosa], exhibit EDS and high prevalence of OSA, associated with considerable oxygen desaturation during sleep,” the researchers wrote.

“We believe that the results of this study draw the attention of the scientific community to the importance of research into the presence of sleep-disordered breathing in patients with BCTS [bronchiectasis] and the possible indication for treatment of these patients with non-invasive ventilator support,” the team concluded.

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