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J Clin Ultrasound. 2005 Feb;33(2):80-6.

Evaluation of carotid artery wall thickness with high-resolution sonography in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

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Faculty of Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Kozlu 67600, Zonguldak, Turkey.



An increased intima-media thickness (IMT) in the carotid arteries is a marker of generalized atherosclerosis, and it has been associated with a high risk of stroke. The aim of this study was to investigate whether patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) have an increase in atherosclerotic indicators in the carotid arteries.


We studied 30 men with severe OSAS who had an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of at least 20. IMT measurement and the presence of stenotic occlusive lesions in the carotid arteries (right common carotid artery [RCCA], right bulb [Rbulb], right internal carotid artery [RICA], left common carotid artery [LCCA], left bulb [Lbulb], and left internal carotid artery [LICA]) were investigated by high-resolution sonography. Results of the sonographic examinations were compared with those for a group of 20 subjects with mild OSAS (AHI <20) and 20 healthy subjects.


The mean IMT of the carotid arteries of patients with severe OSAS was significantly higher than those of patients with mild OSAS and control subjects (RCCA 0.81 versus 0.63 versus 0.58, p <0.01; Rbulb 0.96 versus 0.87 versus 0.65, p <0.001; RICA 0.77 versus 0.69 versus 0.61, p <0.05; LCCA 0.97 versus 0.78 versus 0.67, p <0.01; Lbulb 1.01 versus 0.89 versus 0.72, p <0.01; LICA 0.91 versus 0.75 versus 0.65, p <0.001).


This study shows that the carotid arteries' IMT is increased in patients with severe OSAS. This increase may predispose the patients to cerebrovascular disease. Additionally, the findings support the hypothesis that patients with OSAS are at risk of developing cerebrovascular disease regardless of the presence or absence of other vascular risk factors (eg, hypercholesterolemia, diabetus mellitus, and hypertension).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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