Frequency and outcomes of primary central sleep apnea in a population-based study

Ioanna Kouri, Bhanu Prakash Kolla, Timothy I. Morgenthaler, Meghna P. Mansukhani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Primary central sleep apnea (PCSA) is believed to be rare and data regarding its prevalence and long-term outcomes are sparse. We used the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) resources to identify all Olmsted County, Minnesota, residents with an incident diagnosis of PCSA and their clinical outcomes. Methods: We searched the REP database for all residents with polysomnography (PSG)-confirmed diagnoses of central sleep apnea (CSA) between 2007 and 2015. From these, we reviewed the PSGs and medical records to find those who had PCSA based upon accepted diagnostic criteria. Data based on detailed review of the medical records, including all clinical notes and tests were recorded for analysis. Results: Of 650 patients identified with CSA, 25 (3.8%; 23 male) had PCSA, which was severe in most patients (n = 16, 64%). Of those, 23 (92%) patients were prescribed and 18/23 (78.2%) adherent to positive airway pressure therapy. Median duration of follow-up was 4.4 years (IQR:4.2). Four (16%) patients were subsequently diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmias, one (4%) with unstable angina, two (8%) with heart failure, five (20%) with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)/dementia and two (8%) with depression. Six (25%) patients died (median time to death = 5 years; IQR:4.8), three of whom had Lewy body dementia. Conclusions: In this population-based study, PCSA was rare and when present, was severe in a majority of patients. The mortality rate was high. Most frequently observed disorders during follow-up were mild cognitive impairment (MCI)/dementia followed by cardiac arrhythmias; it is possible that these entities were present and not recognized prior to the diagnosis of PCSA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-183
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Dementia
  • Idiopathic central sleep apnea
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Mortality
  • Primary central sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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