Influence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome and Sleep Variables on Cognitive Performance and Psychological Distress in Severely Obese Patients

Olga Ribeiro, Maria Raquel Carvalho, Isabel do Carmo, Gois Horacio, Teresa Paiva, Maria Lui­sa Figueira


We examined the presence of the Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) and explored associations/correlations between sleep variables, anthropometric measures, cognitive performance, and psychological distress in severely obese patients. We also sought to verify the relationship between the Cognitive Reserve (CR) and the OSAS.

Sixty-one patients who required treatment for severe obesity performed a neuropsychological evaluation and an overnight polysomnography.

Most of the patients were female in the age group of 50 years. The incidence of the OSAS defined by Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) was 65.6%. The Severe Apnea group was the biggest, with a statistically significant number of males, significantly higher anthropometric measures, and with a higher percentage of patients with low CR than the other groups. Cognitive performance was significantly affected by sleep parameters, sleep efficiency and REM sleep duration. Great daytime sleepiness and cognitive complaints were correlated with distress symptoms. The female gender, advanced age, the highest weight, daytime sleepiness, hypertension, and oxygen saturation significantly contributed to the onset of the OSAS.

The incidence of the OSAS is higher in severely obese patients. Anthropometric measures, cognitive performance, and psychological distress symptoms are influenced by sleep parameters and sleep efficiency. There is a high percentage of patients with Severe Apnea and low CR.

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