European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 276, Issue 12, pp 3549–3556 | Cite as

Aging effect on sleepiness and apneas severity in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: a meta-analysis study

  • Giannicola IannellaEmail author
  • Claudio Vicini
  • Andrea Colizza
  • Giuseppe Meccariello
  • Antonella Polimeni
  • Antonio Greco
  • Marco de Vincentiis
  • Andrea de Vito
  • Giovanni Cammaroto
  • Riccardo Gobbi
  • Chiara Bellini
  • Elisabetta Firinu
  • Stefano Pelucchi
  • Giampiero Gulotta
  • Irene Claudia Visconti
  • Milena di Luca
  • Giuseppe Magliulo
Review Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Sleep Apnea Syndrome: From the pathogenesis to the last therapies



Different authors have reported that aging could be associated with changes in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) related parameters (apnea/hypopnea index, SpO2, reduction of daytime sleepiness, etc.), type of sleep and pattern of collapse. Regarding OSA severity in elderly patients, it is commonly believed that the AHI score tends to increase with aging.


In this paper, we reviewed the literature regarding the studies which compared older (> 65 years old) and young (< 65 years old) OSA patients regarding the effect of aging on daytime sleepiness (ESS evaluation) and OSA severity (AHI evaluation). A meta-analysis to evaluate the effect of age on daytime sleepiness and OSAS severity was also performed to corroborate previously reported experience.


Meta-analysis showed no statistical (p = 0.8) differences regarding AHI differences emerged from the comparison of the two groups of patients. Elderly patients (> 65 years old) showed less daytime sleepiness, showing a statistical difference in the meta-analysis of data (p = 0.004)


Although a direct correlation between aging and AHI values would seem to be present, no significant differences in baseline AHI between young (< 65-years-old) and elderly (> 65-years-old) patients emerged in this meta-analysis study. The effects of OSAS on daytime sleepiness seem to be much more prominent in young or middle-aged patients than in elderly patients.


OSA Sleep apnea Elderly Aging Epworth scale 




Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional committee of the Morgagni Pierantoni Hospital and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giannicola Iannella
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Claudio Vicini
    • 2
    • 3
  • Andrea Colizza
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Meccariello
    • 2
  • Antonella Polimeni
    • 4
  • Antonio Greco
    • 1
  • Marco de Vincentiis
    • 1
  • Andrea de Vito
    • 2
  • Giovanni Cammaroto
    • 2
  • Riccardo Gobbi
    • 2
  • Chiara Bellini
    • 2
  • Elisabetta Firinu
    • 2
  • Stefano Pelucchi
    • 3
  • Giampiero Gulotta
    • 1
  • Irene Claudia Visconti
    • 1
  • Milena di Luca
    • 5
  • Giuseppe Magliulo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ‘Organi Di Senso’University “Sapienza”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Head-Neck Surgery, Otolaryngology, Head-Neck and Oral Surgery UnitMorgagni Pierantoni HospitalForlìItaly
  3. 3.Department ENT and AudiologyUniversity of FerraraFerraraItaly
  4. 4.Department of Oral and Maxillo Facial SciencesUniversity “Sapienza”RomeItaly
  5. 5.Department of ENTUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly

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