Altersgebrechlichkeit und Schlafapnoe

  • H. Frohnhofen
  • B. Nickel
  • B. Talbi
  • H.C. Heuer
  • P. Wilschrei
  • C. Falkenhahn



Altersgebrechlichkeit („frailty“) und Schlafapnoe sind häufige Entitäten im hohen Lebensalter. Altersgebrechlichkeit führt zu Abhängigkeit und Pflegebedürftigkeit. Die Verhinderung von Altersgebrechlichkeit ist eine der wichtigsten geriatrischen Aufgaben. Der Zusammenhang zwischen Schlafapnoe und Altersgebrechlichkeit ist kaum untersucht.


In einer prospektiven Pilotstudie untersuchten wir die Beziehung zwischen dem Vorhandensein wenigstens eines der 5 “frailty symptoms“ nach Fried und einer Schlafapnoe bei geriatrischen Klinikpatienten mit erhaltener Kommunikationsfähigkeit und ohne Demenz. Als Surrogatkriterium für eine Schlafapnoe diente die nächtliche Pulsoxymetrie. Tagesmüdigkeit wurde mittels Fragebogen nach Siegrist erfasst.


In die Studie wurden 42 Patienten mit einem mittleren Alter von 82 ± 7 Jahren eingeschlossen, 15 m (36%), 27 w (64%). Bei 28 Patienten (67%) lag wenigstens ein Frailty-Symptom vor. Patienten mit Frailty-Kriterien gaben signifikant häufiger Tagesmüdigkeit an (1/14 vs. 17/28, p < 0,001) und wiesen signifikant häufiger eine schwere Schlafapnoe mit einem Entsättigungsindex > 30/h (p <0,04) und eine niedrigere durchschnittliche nächtlich Sauerstoffsättigung (95 ± 2 vs. 91 ± 4%; p <0,02) auf.


Unsere Pilotstudie zeigt an einem kleinen Kollektiv geriatrischen Klinikpatienten eine Assoziation zwischen dem Vorliegen wenigstens eines Frailty-Kriteriums, Tagesschläfrigkeit und Schlafapnoe. Angesichts der Häufigkeit beider Phänomene und der klinischen Relevanz von Altersgebrechlichkeit sind prospektive Studien zum Nachweis einer kausalen Beziehung zwischen Altersgebrechlichkeit und Schlafapnoe gerechtfertigt.


Altersgebrechlichkeit Müdigkeit Schlafapnoe Hohes Alter Schlafstörung 

Frailty and sleep apnea



Frailty and sleep apnea are common entities in the elderly. Frailty causes dependency and need of care. The prevention of frailty is a major topic in geriatrics. However, the relationship between sleep apnea and frailty has hardly been studied.


In a prospective pilot study, the relationship between the presence of at least one of the five frailty criteria proposed by Fried and sleep apnea were examined. Patients were eligible, if they able to communicate and had no dementia. Sleep apnea was diagnosed by overnight pulse oximetry. Tiredness was obtained using the questionnaire by Siegrist.


A total of 42 patients with a mean age of 82 ± 7 years were enrolled. There were 15 (36%) male and and 27 (64%) female patients, of which 28 (67%) patients met at least one frailty criterion. Patients with frailty criteria experienced significantly more often daytime sleepiness (1/14 vs. 17/28, p <0.001), had a significantly higher incidence of severe sleep apnea with an oxygen desaturation index > 30/h (p <0.04) and had a lower mean nocturnal oxygen saturation (95 ± 2% vs. 91 ± 4%, p <0.02).


Our small pilot study showed an association between the presence of at least one frailty criterion, daytime sleepiness, and severe sleep apnea. Given the high frequency of both phenomena and regarding the clinical relevance of frailty, prospective studies are warranted to prove a causal relationship between sleep apnea and frailty.


Frail elderly Tiredness Sleep apnea Aged Dyssomnia 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Frohnhofen
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. Nickel
    • 1
  • B. Talbi
    • 1
  • H.C. Heuer
    • 1
  • P. Wilschrei
    • 1
  • C. Falkenhahn
    • 1
  1. 1.Zentrum für AltersmedizinKliniken Essen-MitteEssenDeutschland
  2. 2.Fakultät für Gesundheit, Department HumanmedizinUniversität Witten-HerdeckeWitten-HerdeckeDeutschland

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