Study Objectives: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are frequently co-occurring illnesses. The purpose of this study was to determine whether comorbid PTSD/OSA is associated with increased PTSD symptoms or decreased OSA severity compared to PTSD or OSA alone in recently deployed Active Duty Service Members (ADSM). Methods: Cross-sectional observational study of ADSM who returned from combat within 24 months. Participants underwent an attended diagnostic polysomnogram and were assessed for PTSD, depression, combat exposure severity, sleepiness, and sleep quality with validated clinical instruments. Results: Our study included 109 military personnel who returned from a combat deployment within 24 months with a mean age of 34.3 ± 8.23 and BMI of 30.8 ± 3.99. Twenty-four participants had PTSD/OSA, 68 had OSA, and 17 had PTSD. Mean PTSD Checklist-Military Version (PCL-M) scores were 62.0 ± 8.95, 60.5 ± 4.73, and 32.5 ± 8.95 in PTSD/OSA, PTSD, and OSA, respectively. The mean AHI was 16.9 ± 15.0, 18.9 ± 17.0, and 1.73 ± 1.3 for those with PTSD/OSA, OSA, and PTSD. PTSD symptoms and OSA severity in military personnel with comorbid PTSD/OSA were not significantly different from those with PTSD or OSA alone. On multivariate analysis, BMI was a significant predictor of OSA (OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.04-1.44) and age trended towards significance. Depression, but not OSA severity, was associated with PTSD symptoms. Conclusions: Following recent combat exposure, comorbid PTSD/OSA is not associated with increased PTSD symptoms or decreased severity of OSA. Early evaluation after traumatic exposure for comorbid OSA is indicated in PTSD patients with sleep complaints given the high co-occurrence and adverse clinical implications.
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Posttraumatic stress disorder