Frequency of sleep-disordered breathing in a referral population of Somali-Americans

Dongmei Lu, Essa A. Mohamed, Naima Covassin, Anwar C.A. Chahal, Meghna P. Mansukhani, Erik K. St Louis, Virend K. Somers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objectives: To study the frequency of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in individuals of Somali ancestry referred to a clinical sleep laboratory. Methods: This was a retrospective study using a large registry of patients who underwent diagnostic polysomnography between 17 November 2009 and 15 April 2017. Adult patients self-reporting as being of Somali origin were confirmed using the electronic medical record. Results: Somali-American patients comprised approximately 0.2% of all patients undergoing polysomnography at the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine. The median (interquartile range) age was 52.6 (35, 64) years with 66% males and a median (interquartile range) body mass index of 31.2 (27, 34) kg/m2. OSA was diagnosed in 77% of patients, with approximately 50% having moderate to severe OSA. OSA was more frequent in older patients and similar between men and women, and only age predicted an OSA diagnosis while sex and body mass index did not. All patients with diabetes mellitus type 2 (n = 7) and all but one of the hypertensive patients (n = 11) had significant OSA. Conclusions: Less than 0.2% of all patients undergoing polysomnography at Mayo Clinic were of Somali origin. Moderate-to-severe OSA was frequent in this select sample of individuals who underwent polysomnography. Hypertension and diabetes were present in most Somali-Americans with OSA. Given the rising prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in Somali-Americans, and the likely high prevalence of undiagnosed OSA, screening Somali-Americans for sleep disorders may contribute importantly to prevention, early detection, and reduction of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1343-1347
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 15 2020


  • Diabetes
  • Health disparities
  • Hypertension
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Polysomnography
  • Somali-Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Frequency of sleep-disordered breathing in a referral population of Somali-Americans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this