Objectives: To compare obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in World Trade Center (WTC) responders with aerodigestive disorders and snoring with non-WTC habitual snorers, and to distinguish features of OSA in a subset of responders with worsening of snoring after 9/11 from responders with previous habitual snoring.
Methods: Cross-sectional comparative study of 50 WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program responders with aerodigestive disorders and snoring and 50 nonresponders with snoring. Responders with worsening of snoring after 9/11 were compared with previous habitual snorers.
Results: While there was a strong correlation between body mass index (BMI), weight, and Apnea + Hypopnea Index (r = 0.36, P = 0.001; r = 0.29, P = 0.044) in the nonresponders, no correlation between either BMI or weight and Apnea + Hypopnea Index was found in the responders. Responders with worsening of snoring after 9/11 had a significantly lower BMI than previous habitual snorers.
Conclusion: Mechanisms other than obesity are important in the pathogenesis of OSA in WTC responders with aerodigestive disorders.