In previous years, there was limited research related to the role of sleep in interstitial lung diseases (ILDs). Physicians treating ILD patients tended to focus mainly on the daily disabling symptoms overlooking the possible significant role of coexisting sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, recently, there has been a growing interest in OSA in ILDs, as well as OSA effect on sleep, life quality and outcome in these patients with emphasis on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
OSA has been recognized as an important, high-prevalence comorbidity for the diagnosis and management of IPF. This publication provides a summary of the most relevant recent evidence with regard to OSA in various ILDs and especially IPF, including prevalence, clinical presentation, complications, screening and diagnosis. It also provides updated evidence on the role of OSA therapy in improving sleep, quality of life and disease outcome.
It is too early to characterize OSA and ILDs association as an ‘overlap’ syndrome. In depth research is needed, including studies with large numbers of ILDs and IPF patients. The main priority is to increase the awareness among physicians for early diagnosis of OSA in ILDs patients.