Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders in the Elderly

N. S. Gooneratne, G. W. Pien, I. Gurubhagavatula

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBDs) are much more common in older adults than among middle-aged adults, with up to 20% of older adults having an AHI ≥15 events per hour. Changes in upper airway anatomy and muscle function with aging may play a role. Traditional risk factors such as body mass index and history of snoring can help increase the pretest probability for SRBD, but are not as strongly associated with SRBD in older adults as they are in younger subjects. Patients with cognitive impairment have higher rates of SRBD. Evaluation of SRBD relies on polysomnography (PSG) in older adults, with portable PSG representing a potentially useful tool especially in older adults with caregiving responsibilities or functional impairments. Treatment pathways for older adults should take into account possible upper extremity weakness that may limit their ability to apply positive airway pressure masks, assessment of cognitive capacity, and caregiver/social support networks. Weight loss is generally not recommended for mildly overweight patients, but may be appropriate in obese patients. Data on the efficacy of surgical therapies is limited in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Sleep
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780123786111
ISBN (Print)9780123786104
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Auto-titrating positive airway pressure (APAP)
  • Central sleep apnea
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
  • Frailty syndrome
  • Institutionalized
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Older adult
  • Portable polysomnography
  • Survivor effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders in the Elderly'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this