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Volume 13 No. 08
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Allergic and Non-Allergic Rhinitis Are Common in Obstructive Sleep Apnea but Not Associated With Disease Severity

Ming Zheng, MD1,2; Xiangdong Wang, MD1,2; Siqi Ge, MS3; Ying Gu1; Xiu Ding1; Yuhuan Zhang4; Jingying Ye, MD4; Luo Zhang, PhD1,2,5
1Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Beijing TongRen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China; 2Beijing Key Laboratory of Nasal Diseases, Beijing Institute of Otolaryngology, Beijing, China; 3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China; 4Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Beijing Tsinghua Changgung Hospital, Beijing, China; 5Department of Allergy, Beijing TongRen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China

Study Objectives:

Several studies have suggested that rhinitis contributes to the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). We aimed to investigate the prevalence and influence of allergic rhinitis (AR) and non-allergic rhinitis (NAR) on severity of OSA.


Two hundred forty patients with OSA confirmed by standardized polysomnography were assessed for presence of AR and NAR, using validated questionnaires and skin prick tests. Data comparison was carried out by using chi-square test, analysis of variance, and least significant difference test. Associations between severity of OSA and rhinitis, age, sex, and body mass index were assessed with ordinal logistic regression analysis.


The prevalence of AR and NAR among patients with OSA was 27.1% and 28.7%, respectively, with no significant differences in the severity of rhinitis. Ordinal logistic regression analysis showed AR and NAR were not the risk factors for severity of OSA. There were significant differences of polysomnography parameters in sleep efficiency (79.7 ± 2.0 versus 85.2 ± 1.4 between AR and NAR; 79.7 ± 2.0 versus 87.2 ± 1.4 between AR and no-rhinitis) and arousal index (36.8 ± 4.1 versus 24.7 ± 3.5 between AR and no-rhinitis). Patients with NAR had lower average arterial oxygen saturation (91.9 ± 0.6 versus 94.0 ± 0.6) and minimal arterial oxygen saturation (70.6 ± 1.7 versus 77.3 ± 1.8), compared with subjects categorized as no-rhinitis.


This study suggests that despite a comparatively high prevalence in patients with OSA, the presence or severity of AR or NAR does not influence the severity of OSA; however, rhinitis may significantly disturb sleep in patients with OSA.


Zheng M, Wang X, Ge S, Gu Y, Ding X, Zhang Y, Ye J, Zhang L. Allergic and non-allergic rhinitis are common in obstructive sleep apnea but not associated with disease severity. J Clin Sleep Med. 2017;13(8):959–966.

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