Sleep-disordered breathing in cystic fibrosis

Aarti Shakkottai, Samya Z. Nasr, Fauziya Hassan, Sanaya Irani, Louise M. O'Brien, Ronald D. Chervin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-shortening, genetic disease that affects approximately 30,000 Americans. Although patients frequently report snoring, mouth breathing, and insomnia, the extent to which sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) may underlie these complaints remains unknown. Methods: Single-center retrospective review of polysomnography results from referred patients with and without CF individually-matched (1:2) for age, gender, race, and body mass index (BMI). Results: Mean ages were 8.0 ± 5.2 (sd) and 35.9 ± 12.9 years, among 29 children and 23 adults with CF respectively. The CF and non-CF groups were well-matched in age and BMI. Subjects with vs. without CF had three times greater odds of moderate-severe SDB (apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) ≥ 5 in children, ≥ 15 in adults) (p = 0.01). Nocturnal oxygen saturation nadir (Minimum SpO2) was lower among CF vs. non-CF groups (p = 0.002). For every 1-unit increase in AHI, the decline in Minimum SpO2 was larger for subjects with vs. without CF (p = 0.05). In subjects with CF, forced expiratory volume in 1 s percent predicted (FEV1 PPD) was associated with Minimum SpO2 (Pearson r = 0.68, p < 0.0001) but not AHI (r = −0.19, p = 0.27). For every 1-unit increase in AHI, magnitude of decline in Minimum SpO2 was larger for those with low vs. normal FEV1 PPD (p = 0.01). Conclusion: Severity of SDB may be worse among referred patients with vs. without CF. The SDB may modify the relationship between CF lung disease and nocturnal hypoxemia. Markers of lung disease severity including lung function do not predict SDB severity, suggesting the need for routine polysomnography to screen for this sleep disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Adults
  • Children
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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