I wrote in my book, Sleep, Interrupted about my observation that one possible reason why people have so many heart attacks in hospitals is that they’re forced to sleep on their backs, when they’re normally side or stomach sleepers. Here’s a related study that’s really scary: Researchers from Loyola University Chicago showed that using a simple 8 step questionnaire (STOP-BANG, which correlates well with having obstructive sleep apnea), 81% were suspected of having significant obstructive sleep apnea. The scary part is, if 81% already may have obstructive sleep apnea, and you forced them to sleep on their backs (after an operation or for other reasons), then that number should go up even higher. Add to this that many patients are given narcotics for pain, and with additional muscle relaxation that results, breathing problems and complications could go even higher.
Based on this and may other results, should everyone be screened for sleep apnea before being admitted to the hospital?