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Eur Respir J. 2014 Oct;44(4):931-41. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00225113. Epub 2014 Aug 7.

Nocturnal intermittent hypoxia predicts prevalent hypertension in the European Sleep Apnoea Database cohort study.

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Dept of Respiratory Medicine, P.J. Safarik University, Medical Faculty, Kosice, Slovakia L. Pasteur University Hospital, Kosice, Slovakia.
Pulmonary and Sleep Disorders Unit, St Vincent's University Hospital, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Schlafmedizinisches Zentrum, Charité, CCM, Berlin, Germany.
Institute of Tubercolosis and Lung Diseases, Dept of Diagnosis and Treatment of Respiratory Failure, Warsaw, Poland.
Dept of Health Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy Dept of Cardiology, S. Luca Hospital, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy.
Dept of Sleep Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.


Systemic hypertension is associated with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) but the pathophysiological mechanisms are incompletely understood. A collaborative European network of 24 sleep centres established a European Sleep Apnoea Database to evaluate cardiovascular morbidity associated with OSAS. 11 911 adults referred with suspected OSAS between March 2007 and September 2013 underwent overnight sleep studies, either cardiorespiratory polygraphy or polysomnography. We compared the predictive value of the apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) and 4% oxygen desaturation index (ODI) for prevalent hypertension, adjusting for relevant covariates including age, smoking, obesity, dyslipidaemia and diabetes. Among patients (70% male, mean±sd age 52±12 years), 78% had AHI>5 events·h(-1) and 41% systemic hypertension. Both AHI and ODI independently related to prevalent hypertension after adjustment for relevant covariates (p<0.0001 for linear trend across quartiles (Q) of severity for both variables). However, in multiple regression analysis with both ODI and AHI in the model, ODI was, whereas AHI was not, independently associated with prevalent hypertension: odds ratios (95% CI) for Q4 versus Q1 regarding ODI were 2.01 (1.61-2.51) and regarding AHI were 0.92 (0.74-1.15) (p<0.0001 and p=0.3054, respectively). This cross sectional study suggests that chronic intermittent hypoxia plays an important role in OSAS-related hypertension.

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