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Risk of obstructive sleep apnea in patients with Sjögren syndrome and Behçet’s disease: a nationwide, population-based cohort study



Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have a higher risk of Behçet’s disease (BD) and Sjögren syndrome (SS). However, the bidirectional relationship between these autoimmune diseases and OSA is unclear. We investigated the relationship between autoimmune diseases (SS and BD) and OSA.


SS and BD patients were identified through the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database from 2002 to 2012. Patients with SS or BD were matched according to age and sex with a control group in a ratio of 1:4. The study included 12,926 patients with SS and 51,704 non-SS controls. Similarly, 1221 patients with BD were matched with 4884 non-BD controls. We used a Cox regression model, stratified by age, gender, and comorbidities, to assess the risk of OSA.


OSA was diagnosed in 0.61% of the SS cohort and 1.23% of the BD cohort. The higher overall risk for OSA was observed significantly in patients with SS than in controls (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 2.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.89–3.24). The higher risk was also observed significantly in BD patients than in controls (HR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.06–3.72). Furthermore, men with SS or BD exhibited HR of 2.62 (95% CI 1.89 to 3.62) and 6.40 (95% CI 2.96 to 13.84) for developing OSA, respectively.


Risk of OSA was significantly elevated in SS or BD patients compared with controls. Further study is warranted to elucidate underlying mechanisms.

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We would like to thank the Bureau of National Health Insurance and National Health Research Institutes for providing the research database analyzed in this study.

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Correspondence to Chi-Ching Chang.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures conducted in this study including human participants are according to the Helsinki declaration and its subsequent amendments as well as the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research council.

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Yeh, TC., Chen, WS., Chang, YS. et al. Risk of obstructive sleep apnea in patients with Sjögren syndrome and Behçet’s disease: a nationwide, population-based cohort study. Sleep Breath 24, 1199–1205 (2020).

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  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Behçet’s disease