Original Article

Obstructive sleep apnea in patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension

Xue Yu, Zhiwei Huang, Yi Zhang, Zhihong Liu, Qin Luo, Zhihui Zhao, Qing Zhao, Liu Gao, Qi Jin, Lu Yan


Background: Due to its effects, like an exaggerated negative intrathoracic pressure, sympathetic activation, systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, and endothelial dysfunction, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been involved as a cause in multiple cardiovascular diseases. These diseases include coronary artery disease, hypertension, heart failure, and pulmonary hypertension (PH). Furthermore, OSA often coexists with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) in clinical practice. However, few studies focus on OSA and its relationship with CTEPH. This study aims to determine whether OSA has an influence on the clinic status of patients with CTEPH, and to identify what possible factors are associated with OSA in CTEPH.
Methods: Patients who were newly diagnosed with CTEPH and received overnight polysomnography (PSG) monitoring from September 2015 to December 2017 were enrolled. OSA was defined as apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of ≥5/h and the obstructive events at ≥50%. Baseline clinical characteristics and parameters were collected and compared between CTEPH patients with and without OSA. In addition, logistic regression analysis was performed to identify possible factors associated with OSA in CTEPH.
Results: Fifty-seven patients with CTEPH were eventually enrolled. Among them, 32 patients were diagnosed with OSA by PSG. CTEPH patients with OSA showed an older age, a higher body mass index (BMI), a higher hemoglobin level, a lower oxygen saturation and a worse World Health Organization functional class (WHO FC) (all P<0.05) when compared to CTEPH patients without OSA. In addition, sleep data including AHI, oxygen desaturation index and minimum oxygen saturation were also statistically different between two groups (all P<0.05). Adjusted for age, sex and BMI, hemoglobin [odd ratio (OR) =1.057, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.001–1.117, P=0.046], oxygen saturation (OR =0.718, 95% CI: 0.554–0.929, P=0.012), N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (OR =1.001, 95% CI: 1.000–1.002, P=0.016), mean right atrium pressure (OR =1.284, 95% CI: 1.030–1.600, P=0.026), mean pulmonary arterial pressure (mPAP) (OR =1.087, 95% CI: 1.001–1.180, P=0.048), cardiac index (CI) (OR =0.058, 95% CI: 0.008–0.433, P=0.037), pulmonary vascular resistance (OR =1.004, 95% CI: 1.001–1.007, P=0.014) and WHO FC III–IV (OR =18.550, 95% CI: 2.363–144.128, P=0.005) were associated with OSA in CTEPH. Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated CI (OR =0.051, 95% CI: 0.003–0.868, P=0.040) was independently associated with OSA in CTEPH in addition to age, sex and BMI.
Conclusions: OSA may aggravate the clinical status of CTEPH patients to some degree. In turn, a worse hemodynamics, oxygenation state and cardiac function are associated with OSA in CTEPH after being adjusted for age, sex and BMI. Among them, CI is the most important parameter in indicating the coexistence of OSA and CTEPH.

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