Pulmonology Advisor: Black men have more symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on clinical presentation as well as more severe OSA on polysomnography, according to a study on racial and gender disparities in OSA published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

The study evaluated disparities in characteristics of OSA among 890 adult patients newly diagnosed with OSA who had been referred to the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center sleep laboratories, in Cleveland, Ohio, between February 2007 and December 2010. OSA was defined as an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of at least 5 events per hour via polysomnography.

Of the individuals included in the study, 50.6% were Black and 49.4% were White. Men accounted for 56% of White participants vs 31% of Black participants (P <.001). Overall, the cohort of patients with OSA comprised 141 Black men (15.8%), 248 White men (27.9%), 309 Black women (34.7%), and 192 White women (21.6%).

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