, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 345-351
Date: 03 Dec 2009

Association of self-reported nasal blockage with sleep-disordered breathing and excessive daytime sleepiness in Pakistani employed adults

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To assess prevalence of self-reported nasal congestion and its association with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in Pakistani adults employed at a medical university.


All full-time employees of a medical university (n = 3,470) were delivered a questionnaire that elicited demographic data, symptoms of nasal blockage and SDB and Epworth Sleepiness Scale score. Overnight pulse oximetry was performed on self-reported snorers and a random sample of non-snorers. Supervised polysomnography was performed on subjects with oxygen desaturation index > 5/h. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association of nasal blockage with SDB and EDS.


Of 2,497 (72%) responders, 45.2% reported nasal congestion. Self-reported nasal blockage was significantly associated with an increased risk of SDB symptoms: snoring (odds ratio [OR] 1.9), witnessed apnoea (OR, 2.2) and unrefreshing sleep (OR, 1.7). Those with nasal blockage had higher Epworth Sleepiness Scale score (5.5 ± 3.6 vs. 3.9 ± 3.3, p < 0.001) compared with those without nasal blockage. Nasal blockage was associated with increased risk of doziness in seven out of eight items of Epworth Sleepiness Scale score. Oxygen desaturation index and apnoea–hypopnoea index were similar between subjects with and without self-reported nasal blockage.


Self-reported nasal blockage is a common symptom in employed Pakistani adults. Self-reported nasal blockage is significantly associated with symptoms of SDB and EDS but not with respiratory variables on overnight sleep monitoring.