US Pharm. 2014;39(3):49-50.

People with sleep apnea appear to be at a greater risk of contracting pneumonia, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. To determine whether sleep apnea is linked to the development of pneumonia, Taiwanese researchers followed 34,100 patients (6,816 who had sleep apnea and 27,284 controls) for 11 years. They found that pneumonia was more likely to develop in the people with sleep apnea than in the control group (638 [9.36%] vs. 2119 [7.77%]). The people with pneumonia were older and had more comorbidities such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and other diseases.

“This study showed that sleep apnea is an independent risk factor for incident pneumonia,” write Dr. Vincent Yi-Fong Su and Dr. Kun-Ta Chou, Department of Chest Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, with coauthors. “Our results also demonstrated an exposure-response relation in that patients with more severe sleep apnea may have a higher risk of pneumonia than patients with sleep apnea of milder severity.”