Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 45–53 | Cite as

Obstructive sleep apnoea in adult indigenous populations in high-income countries: an integrative review

  • Cindy E. Woods
  • Kim Usher
  • Graeme Paul Maguire



Obstructive sleep apnoea is recognised as a common but under-diagnosed health issue. Currently, there is very little published data relating to the burden and impact of obstructive sleep apnoea among indigenous populations. The purpose of this review was to investigate the prevalence, impact, risk factors and treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea in indigenous populations in high-income countries.


An integrative review was conducted on 25 English language studies and reports that investigated obstructive sleep apnoea among indigenous populations in high-income countries. Studies that did not focus on indigenous populations in the results or discussion were excluded. Eligible studies were identified by searching PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar databases and reference lists of eligible studies. Publication dates range from 1998 to 2012.


Synthesis of studies indicates the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnoea is higher and severity is greater in indigenous populations compared with non-indigenous populations. Comparable risk factors for obstructive sleep apnoea were identified in indigenous and non-indigenous populations, with only three studies identifying ethnicity as an independent risk factor.


Indigenous populations in high-income countries are subject to an overall greater prevalence of obstructive sleep apnoea that is also more severe. A higher prevalence of obesity, alcohol and tobacco use and comorbid medical conditions associated with low socioeconomic status rather than indigenous status per se appears to explain this disparity.


Continuous positive airway pressure Indigenous population Review Sleep Sleep apnoea syndromes Sleep-disordered breathing 


Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest has been declared by the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cindy E. Woods
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kim Usher
    • 2
  • Graeme Paul Maguire
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Cairns Clinical SchoolJames Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia
  2. 2.School of HealthUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  3. 3.Alice Springs HospitalAlice SpringsAustralia
  4. 4.Baker IDI Central AustraliaAlice SpringsAustralia

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