Current Sleep Medicine Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 13–22 | Cite as

Apnea in Elderly

  • Salam ZeineddineEmail author
  • Susmita Chowdhuri
Sleep and Sleep Apnea at the Extremes (D Gozal, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Sleep and Sleep Apnea at the Extremes


Purpose of Review

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is common in older adults. However, there is controversy regarding the diagnosis, consequences, and treatment of OSA in this patient population. This review presents the current evidence pertaining to the pathogenesis, diagnosis, complications, and management of OSA in older adults.

Recent Findings

OSA is prevalent and underdiagnosed in the elderly. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that moderate to severe OSA in older adults is linked to neurocognitive decline and chronic vascular disease, including increased risk of incident heart failure and ischemic stroke. Positive airway pressure therapy remains the mainstay of treatment.


Systematic investigations are needed to validate screening tools and diagnostic methods for OSA in elderly and to delineate the subpopulation of elderly in whom therapy is warranted. Targeted approach to diagnosis and treatment needs to be undertaken to avoid the deleterious consequences of sleep apnea in this vulnerable population.


Sleep-disordered breathing Obstructive sleep apnea Elderly CPAP 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Salam Zeineddine and Susmita Chowdhuri each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John D. Dingell VA Medical CenterDetroitUSA

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