We aimed to evaluate the total costs to patients and their partners of sleep apnoea and obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) and their treatment, as this is poorly described in families. Using data from the Danish National Patient Registry and other public databases, all patients and their partners with a diagnosis of sleep apnoea (n=30,278) or OHS (n=1562) were included. They were compared with age-, sex- and community location-matched citizens at a ratio 1:4 (120,506 and 6241 control subjects, respectively). Direct and indirect costs were evaluated for patients and their partners. Sleep apnoea and OHS patients and their partners had higher rates of health-related contact, medication use and unemployment, and lower income levels. Excess yearly direct net health and foregone earnings (indirect costs) were €2174 and €7981 prior to diagnosis, and €3988 and €12,022 after diagnosis for sleep apnoea and OHS, respectively. The comparable annual mean excess health-related costs for spouses were €1965 and €2862 before diagnosis, and €2307 and €3079 after diagnosis, for sleep apnoea and OHS patients, respectively. These socioeconomic consequences were present up to 12 years before first diagnosis, and increased as the disease advanced. Sleep-disordered breathing has major socioeconomic consequences for patients and their spouses years before and after diagnosis.
European Respiratory Journal, 2014, Vol 43, Issue 1, p. 134-44