Identifying people at high risk for developing sleep apnea syndrome (SAS): A cross-sectional study in a Pakistani population

Fawad Taj, Zarmeneh Aly, Mahwash Kassi, Mansoor Ahmed

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9 Scopus citations


Background: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is associated with many cardiovascular and psychiatric diseases. Day-time sleepiness is a common consequence of sleep apnea and correlates with road-traffic accidents (RTA). Pakistan has a high prevalence of factors which predispose an individual to OSA and death from RTAs are a huge burden. However there is a dearth of prevalence studies in this regard. We aim to understand local relevance of the disease and estimate the prevalence of individuals high-risk for OSA. Methods: This cross-sectional survey was conducted among 450 individuals at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), which is a tertiary care teaching hospital in Pakistan. We used the BQ as our measurement tool. Based on the responses, participants were grouped into high or low-risk for OSA. Results: Our study sample size was 418 with 63.2% males. Mean age of our study population was 30.4 SD +/- 12.3 years; and mean BMI was 23.2 SD +/- 5 kg/m2. Out of the total sample size 24.9% reported snoring and there were twice as many males who snored as compared to females. Forty-five individuals reported that they had nodded off to sleep while driving at least once in their lifetime. On the other hand, the highest proportion of high risk individuals 47.6% was found in the age group 60 or above. The overall prevalence of individuals who were high risk for sleep apnea was 10%. Conclusion: A significant proportion of the population is at high-risk for OSA. Our study shows that despite low BMI and favorable craniofacial anatomy sleep apnea is still a locally relevant disease. Given the local relevance of OSAS, it is important to increase awareness among general population but more importantly among physicians of the developing countries, like Pakistan, about common clinical features and pertinent risk factors and complications of OSAS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number50
JournalBMC neurology
StatePublished - Dec 17 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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