Send to

Choose Destination
J Appl Physiol (1985). 2008 Dec;105(6):1852-7. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.90900.2008. Epub 2008 Oct 16.

Impaired cerebral autoregulation in obstructive sleep apnea.

Author information

Yale Center for Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) increases the risk of stroke independent of known vascular and metabolic risk factors. Although patients with OSA have higher prevalence of hypertension and evidence of hypercoagulability, the mechanism of this increased risk is unknown. Obstructive apnea events are associated with surges in blood pressure, hypercapnia, and fluctuations in cerebral blood flow. These perturbations can adversely affect the cerebral circulation. We hypothesized that patients with OSA have impaired cerebral autoregulation, which may contribute to the increased risk of cerebral ischemia and stroke. We examined cerebral autoregulation in patients with and without OSA by measuring cerebral artery blood flow velocity (CBFV) by using transcranial Doppler ultrasound and arterial blood pressure using finger pulse photoplethysmography during orthostatic hypotension and recovery as well as during 5% CO(2) inhalation. Cerebral vascular conductance and reactivity were determined. Forty-eight subjects, 26 controls (age 41.0+/-2.3 yr) and 22 OSA (age 46.8+/-2.3 yr) free of cerebrovascular and active coronary artery disease participated in this study. OSA patients had a mean apnea-hypopnea index of 78.4+/-7.1 vs. 1.8+/-0.3 events/h in controls. The oxygen saturation during sleep was significantly lower in the OSA group (78+/-2%) vs. 91+/-1% in controls. The dynamic vascular analysis showed mean CBFV was significantly lower in OSA patients compared with controls (48+/-3 vs. 55+/-2 cm/s; P <0.05, respectively). The OSA group had a lower rate of recovery of cerebrovascular conductance for a given drop in blood pressure compared with controls (0.06+/-0.02 vs. 0.20+/-0.06 cm.s(-2).mmHg(-1); P <0.05). There was no difference in cerebrovascular vasodilatation in response to CO(2). The findings showed that patients with OSA have decreased CBFV at baseline and delayed cerebrovascular compensatory response to changes in blood pressure but not to CO(2). These perturbations may increase the risk of cerebral ischemia during obstructive apnea.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center