Research Paper
Publication trends in obstructive sleep apnea: Evidence of need for more evidence
World Journal of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2017,03(02) : 72-78. DOI: 10.3760/cma.j.issn.2095-8811.2017.02.102

Published research in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) appears limited despite OSA being a highly prevalent adult and pediatric disease leading to many adverse outcomes if left untreated. We aimed to quantify the deficit in OSA scientific literature in order to provide a novel way of identifying gaps in knowledge and a need for further research inquiry.


This was a Bibliometric analysis study. Using Ovid Medline database we analyzed and compared research output (medical and surgical) between adult OSA and similarly prevalent chronic conditions (Type II diabetes (T2DM), coronary artery disease (CAD) and osteoarthritis (OA)) from December 2016 up to fifty years prior. Linear graphs were utilized to trend collected data. Utilizing same strategy, we compared publication trends for pediatric OSA to asthma and gastroesophageal reflux (GER).


Adult OSA publications (n = 9314) were significantly underrepresented when compared to T2DM (n = 66,023), CAD (n = 31,526) and OA (n = 34,123). Linear plots demonstrated that despite increasing number of publications this disparity persisted annually. Surgical literature composed 10.4% (n = 972) of adult OSA publications and reached a plateau in the last ten years. Pediatric OSA (n = 2994) had less research output when compared to asthma (n = 47,442) and GER (n = 6705). However, over past five years pediatric OSA surpassed GER in annual number of publications. Surgical literature represented 23.1% (n = 693) of pediatric OSA publications and continued increasing over past ten years. Study methodologies for both adult and pediatric OSA showed a lack of randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses in comparison to other diseases.


Our review shows substantial deficit in total, annual and surgical adult OSA published research compared to similarly prevalent diseases. This trend is not entirely observed in pediatric OSA literature.

Cite as: Araslanova R., Paradis J., Rotenberg B.W.. Publication trends in obstructive sleep apnea: Evidence of need for more evidence [J]. World Journal of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery,2017,03(02): 72-78. DOI: 10.3760/cma.j.issn.2095-8811.2017.02.102
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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder, affecting up to 7% of North American adults. OSA is characterized by partial or complete upper airway collapse during sleep. Cessation of airflow leads to disruption of gas exchange and thus causes sympathetically driven recurrent arousal from sleep.1 Affected individuals frequently manifest excessive daytime sleepiness, cognitive dysfunction as well as decreased health-related quality of life.2 Classical OSA symptoms include snoring and intermittent breathing pauses during sleep leading to frequent arousal, yet many patients are unaware of these symptoms and disease onset is insidious.1,2 The long-term effects of sleep fragmentation and intermittent hypoxia on health are numerous leading to systemic hypertension, impaired glucose metabolism and cardiovascular disease,1 as well as societal effects such as increased car accidents. First line therapy for adult OSA has been in the past continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), with surgery gradually taking on a more prominent role as evidence demonstrates benefit at or superior to CPAP in anatomically favorable patients.3

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Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
bibliometric analysis
Sleep medicine
obstructive sleep apnea
gastroesophageal reflux
coronary artery disease
Sleep disordered