The preventable productivity burden of sleep apnea in Australia: a lifetime modelling study

Clara Marquina, Kelly Makarounas-Kirchmann, Karen Holden, Anthony Sasse, Zanfina Ademi

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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder. OSA is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and depression, among other comorbidities. We aim to determine the productivity burden of OSA in Australia using productivity-adjusted life-years (PALYs). Using life table modelling, we built a multistate Markov model to estimate the impact of moderate to severe OSA on the whole working-age Australian population in 2021 (aged 20–65 years) with OSA until retirement (aged 66 years). The model also captured the impact of OSA on CVD, T2DM, depression, and vehicle-related accidents. Data for OSA and comorbidities and Australian specific labour data, were extracted from published sources. A second cohort was then modelled to test the effect of a hypothetical intervention, assuming a 10% reduction in OSA prevalence and a 10% reduction in comorbidities in patients with OSA. The primary outcome of interest were PALYs accrued. All outcomes were discounted 5% annually. Over a lifetime, the Australian population with OSA accrued 193,713,441 years of life lived and 182,737,644 PALYs. A reduction of 10% in OSA prevalence and comorbidities would result in 45,401 extra years of life lived and 150,950 extra PALYs. This resulted in more than AU$25 billion of gained gross domestic product over the lifetime of the working population. Our study highlights the substantial burden of OSA on the Australian population and the need to tailor interventions at the population level to reduce the health and economic impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13748
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • burden of disease
  • health economics
  • OSA
  • PALY
  • productivity

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