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Association Between Cushing’s Syndrome and Sleep Apnea


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DOI: 10.7759/cureus.22044

Cite this article as: Pattipati M, Gudavalli G (February 09, 2022) Association Between Cushing’s Syndrome and Sleep Apnea: Results From the National Inpatient Sample. Cureus 14(2): e22044. doi:10.7759/cureus.22044



Cushing’s syndrome is a metabolic disorder related to excess cortisol production. Patients with Cushing’s syndrome are at risk for the development of other comorbid medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea has been well associated with endocrine disorders such as acromegaly and hypothyroidism. However, its causal association with Cushing’s syndrome is still unclear. We utilized a national database to study the prevalence of sleep apnea in Cushing’s syndrome.


We hypothesized that patients with Cushing’s syndrome might have an increased prevalence of sleep apnea.


Patients aged above 18 years from the NIS database between 2017 and 2018 with a diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome and sleep apnea were extracted using the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) codes, with code E24 representing Cushing’s syndrome and G47.3 representing sleep apnea. The prevalence of sleep apnea and other comorbid medical conditions were identified using the ICD-10 codes. Logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the association between Cushing’s syndrome and sleep apnea.


Cushing’s syndrome was prevalent in 0.037% (2,248 of 6,023,852) of all inpatient hospitalizations. Patients with Cushing’s syndrome were slightly younger (mean age: 54 ± 16 versus 58 ± 20) and more likely to be females (76%, 1,715 out of 2,248) and had higher rates of sleep apnea
(21.9% versus 8.7%, p < 0.000) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) (18.6% versus 7.2%, p < 0.000) when compared to the general population. Cushing’s syndrome is independently associated with sleep apnea, with an unadjusted odds ratio (OR) of 2.94 (p < 0.01) and an adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of 1.79 after adjusting for demographics and other risk factors for sleep apnea and comorbid medical conditions (p < 0.01).


Cushing’s syndrome is associated with increased prevalence of sleep apnea and independent predictor of sleep apnea. Further prospective studies are recommended to validate the causal association. The high prevalence and coexistence of both these disorders validate screening for sleep apnea as part of routine workup in patients with Cushing’s syndrome and vice versa.


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