Simple Novel Screening Tool for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Alex Barnes, Jane M. Andrews, Sutapa Mukherjee, Robert V. Bryant, Peter Bampton, Paul Spizzo, Robert J. Fraser, Reme Mountifield

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Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been associated with an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). We aimed to examine the associations of obstructive sleep apnea, sleepiness, and IBD-related data and comorbidities, with the aim of developing a screening tool for sleep apnea in this population. Methods: An online survey of adults with IBD was administered which included measures of assessment of the risk of OSA, and measures of IBD activity, IBD-related disability, anxiety, and depression. Logistic regression was performed to investigate the associations between the risk of OSA and IBD data, medications, demographics, and mental health conditions. Further models were built for an outcome of severe daytime sleepiness and a combined outcome of risk of OSA and at least mild daytime sleepiness. A simple score was constructed for the purpose of screening for OSA. Results: There were 670 responses to the online questionnaire. The median age was 41 years, the majority had Crohn's disease (57%), the median disease duration was 11.9 years, and approximately half were on biologics (50.5%). Moderate-high risk of OSA was demonstrated in 22.6% of the cohort. A multivariate regression model for moderate-high risk of OSA included increasing age, obesity, smoking, and abdominal pain subscore. For a combined outcome of moderate-high risk of OSA and at least mild daytime sleepiness, a multivariate model included abdominal pain, age, smoking, obesity, and clinically significant depression. A simple score was constructed for screening for OSA utilizing age, obesity, IBD activity, and smoking status with an area under the receiver-operating curve of 0.77. A score >2 had a sensitivity of 89% and a specificity of 56% for moderate-high risk of OSA and could be utilized for screening for OSA in the IBD clinic. Conclusions: Over one-fifth of an IBD cohort met significantly high-risk criteria for OSA to warrant referral for a diagnostic sleep study. The risk of OSA was associated with abdominal pain, along with more traditional risk factors such as smoking, increasing age, and obesity. Consideration should be given for screening for OSA in IBD patients utilizing a novel screening tool that utilizes parameters typically available in IBD clinic.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberotad016
Number of pages8
JournalCrohn's and Colitis 360
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • disability
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • psychology


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