Veterans with OSA have Increased Death Risk with Covid-19
Covid-19 has spread around the globe with unprecedented consequences. The World Health Organization now estimates that it has infected approximately 220 million people worldwide, resulting in over 4.5 million deaths. While a great amount of data has been collected regarding Covid-19, medical knowledge of its long-term effects and its interaction with other chronic medical conditions is still growing.
Medical literature has concluded that certain comorbid conditions are associated with an increased risk of severe COVID-19. These include obesity, cardiac failure, hypertension, diabetes, chronic liver disease, chronic lung disease, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA, in particular, has been shown to substantially increase the risk of COVID-19 complications and mortality.
In fact, research concludes that patients with OSA experience an approximate 8-fold greater risk for COVID-19 infection. This same study concluded that OSA patients have a higher risk of hospitalization and approximately double the risk of developing respiratory failure compared to the general population. In one peer-reviewed study, it notes that CPAP treatment may actually facilitate entry of the Covid virus via the upper airways, which could explain the susceptibility to COVID-19 infections in OSA patients. Given the very high prevalence of OSA in the veteran population, Veteran Advocates should take note that Veterans who have a service connected OSA condition should seek to understand morbidity connections with OSA and Covid-19.