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Recent observational studies have shown that sleep apnoea (SA) is associated with increased risk of incident CKD. However, the contribution of SA relative to common traditional CKD risk factors remains unknown. The aims of this study were to investigate the long-term risk of incident CKD events following SA diagnosis and compare the relative contributions of SA, diabetes and hypertension.Data were retrieved from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database during the period between 2000 and 2010 for this retrospective cohort study. The cohorts are composed of patients (age ≥ 20 years) newly diagnosed with SA and matched subjects without SA. The two cohorts were followed until the occurrence of CKD, death or the end of 2010.The sample is composed of 43 434 individuals (8687 patients with SA and 34 747 matched non-SA subjects). A total of 157 new CKD events in patients with SA and 298 events in the matched non-SA cohort were recorded during a mean follow-up period of 3.9 years (incidence rates, 4.5 and 2.2/per 1000 person-years). The risk of CKD development was greater among patients with SA than in the matched non-SA cohort (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 1.58, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.29–1.94). The contribution of SA to the CKD hazard was similar to that of hypertension (aHR 1.17, 95% CI: 0.68–2.01,P= 0.56), whereas that of diabetes remained significantly higher (aHR 2.17, 95% CI: 1.21–3.90,P= 0.01).SA was associated with an increase in the risk of CKD incidence similar to that of hypertension.Sleep apnoea is linked to future chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk. The CKD hazard associated with sleep apnoea is similar to that associated with hypertension. Our results identify a potential new population in which increased risk of CKD should be evaluated.