(HealthDay News) – For patients with overlap syndrome (a combination of obstructive sleep apnea [OSA] and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]), the more time on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) the lower the likelihood of death, according to a study published in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Michael L. Stanchina, MD, from Brown University in Providence, RI, and colleagues utilized outpatient databases of 10,272 patients (2007–2010) to identify 3,396 patients who were classified as alive or deceased, with the known diagnosis of COPD and OSA, and having both COPD plus OSA. Additional information on pulmonary function, OSA parameters, and CPAP compliance were collected.

Diagnostic coding and chart review identified 1,112 COPD patients and 2,284 OSA patients with 227 having both conditions. The researchers found that, of the patients having overlapping conditions, 7.4% died (17 patients). Hours of CPAP use and age were significant independent predictors of mortality (hazard ratio, 0.71 and 1.14, respectively). There was an association between greater time on CPAP and reduced mortality. Age did not correlate with CPAP use. For those with CPAP usage of less than two hours per night, the mean age was significantly higher than those using CPAP more than two hours per night.

“From this observational cohort, mortality in the overlap syndrome is impacted by CPAP use,” the authors write. “Age is also an independent factor which has a negative association with survival and CPAP usage.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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