Prevalence and treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome in adults with Down syndrome
Hill, Elizabeth Anne
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Obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome (OSAHS) is characterised by repeated cycles of upper airway obstruction during sleep, leading to diurnal symptoms. Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) are predisposed to this as the DS phenotype overlaps with OSAHS risk factors. Around 2-4% of the general adult population and 55% of children with DS have OSAHS but, to date, no large-scale study has assessed OSAHS prevalence or efficacy of treatment in DS adults. This study aimed to: 1) Systematically assess subjective and objective OSAHS prevalence; 2) Assess the effectiveness of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in an adult DS population. Standard questionnaires including pictorial Epworth Sleepiness Scale (pESS) and Developmental Behaviour Checklist for Adults (DBC-A) were sent to UK adults aged ≥16yr with DS and their caregivers. All questionnaire responders were invited to undergo home polygraphy. Symptomatic adults with DS with ≥10 apnoeas/hypopnoeas per hour in bed (AH) on home polygraphy were invited to participate in a prospective randomised controlled trial (RCT) of CPAP v. lifestyle advice, with review at 1, 3, 6 and 12m. Participants in the lifestyle arm were offered CPAP at 1m. Standard measurements of sleepiness, behaviour, cognitive function and general health were undertaken. Standard statistical analyses were conducted, with significance set at p<0.001 to control for multiple testing. Of 5270 questionnaires sent, 1105 responses were valid (21%). Responders (55% males) were overweight/obese young adults: mean BMI 29.0±6.8kg/m2; mean age 28±9 years. Women had a higher BMI (p<0.0001), but collar size was greater in men (p<0.0001). Mean pESS scores were broadly within the normal range (7±5/24). No significant gender differences in OSAHS symptoms were noted. Individuals with probable OSAHS had higher pESS and DBC-A scores, and significantly more symptoms of OSAHS. Subjective OSAHS prevalence was estimated at 35%. Of the 790 individuals invited, 149 underwent polygraphy, with 134 valid studies obtained: mean AH 21.8(10.9-42.7); mean oximetry desaturation index (ODI) 6.6(2.3-20.0). No significant gender differences were observed. Forty-two percent of participants met standard clinical diagnostic criteria for OSAHS. Twenty-eight eligible adults with DS (19 male) were randomised: age 28±9yr; BMI 31.5±7.9kg/m2; AH 28.6(14.8-47.9); ODI 7.3(1.8-21.9); pESS 11±6/24. Groups did not differ significantly at baseline. By 12m, 4 participants had withdrawn (all remaining participants on CPAP). The pESS (p=0.001), DBC-A Disruptive (p<0.0001) and Kaufmann Brief Intelligence Test verbal subscale (p=0.001) scores improved significantly. This first large study of OSAHS prevalence in the adult DS population estimates a prevalence of 35-42% - around 10 times higher than in the general adult population. Sustained, significant improvements in sleepiness, cognitive function and behavioural/emotional outcomes with CPAP use over a 12m period were demonstrated during this first RCT of CPAP in adults with DS. A larger trial of CPAP in this population is warranted.
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