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Keywords:

  • obstructive sleep apnea syndrome;
  • breath-holding test;
  • basilar artery;
  • pulsatility index;
  • cerebral hemodynamic

Introduction

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is characterized in polysomnography by recurrent airflow obstruction during sleep. The underlying pathogenic mechanisms of neuropsychological and cerebrovascular events in patients with OSAS have not been clarified unequivocally.

Material and methods

Case–control study to evaluate the cerebral vasomotor reactivity assessed by breath-holding maneuver at basilar artery in patients with OSAS compared to control subjects.

Results

The study included 76 patients with OSAS and 76 controls. Vascular risk factors (arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, smoking), age, gender, coronary, and peripheral arterial diseases were similar in both groups. Patients with OSAS had breath-holding test values (31.9 ± 13.35%) lower than controls (39.06 ± 13.16%), (= 0.001). Patients with OSAS had higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure both basal and apnea and also a higher basal heart rate.

Conclusions

Altered cerebral hemodynamics together with increased blood pressure values in patients with OSAS may play a role in the association between this disease and the development of cerebrovascular events. This implies that this disease should be identified through guide symptoms such as snoring, sleep apnea, and daytime sleepiness in all patients who consult for these symptoms to reduce the number of cerebrovascular events.