HealthDay News — For patients with overlap syndrome, a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the more time on continuous positive airway pressure the lower the likelihood of death, study findings indicate.

Michael L. Stanchina, MD, from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues analyzed data from 3,396 patients that had a known diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and both COPD plus OSA between 2007 and 2010.

Additional information on pulmonary function, OSA parameters and CPAP compliance were collected. The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

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Diagnostic coding and chart review identified 1,112 COPD patients and 2,284 OSA patients with 227 having both conditions. Among the patients with overlapping conditions, 7.4% died (17 patients).

Hours of CPAP use and age were significant independent predictors of mortality (hazard ratio, 0.71 and 1.14, respectively). There was an association between greater time on CPAP and reduced mortality. Age did not correlate with CPAP use. For those with CPAP usage of less than two hours per night, the mean age was significantly higher than those using CPAP more than two hours per night.

“From this observational cohort, mortality in the overlap syndrome is impacted by CPAP use,” the researchers wrote. “Age is also an independent factor which has a negative association with survival and CPAP usage.”


  1. Stanchina ML et al. J Clin Sleep Med. 2013;9(8):767-772.