Acta Cardiol Sin 2019 May;35(3):325-334
Department of Radiology, Mehmet Akif Ersoy Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Center, Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.
Background: Coronary artery disease continues to be the most important cause of morbidity and mortality. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is independently associated with subclinical atherosclerosis. In this study, we aimed to assess the relationship between the presence of coronary plaques and OSA and between coronary plaque burden and the severity of OSA according to plaque type.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we enrolled 214 consecutive patients who were divided into four groups of 43 patients (age: 52.3 ± 6.4 years) without OSA, 51 patients (age: 53.9 ± 6.7 years) with mild OSA, 40 patients (age: 55.2 ± 5.9 years) with moderate OSA, and 80 patients (age: 54.9 ± 7.2 years) with severe OSA according to the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). We performed coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA) and evaluated plaque positivity, the presence of non-calcified/mixed plaques, and total stenosis score for each group.
Results: The prevalence of non-calcified/mixed plaques was three times higher in the severe OSA (41.3%) group and two times higher in the moderate OSA (30.0%) group compared to the patients without OSA (14.0%). When the four groups were examined in terms of plaque burden, the total stenosis score was found to increase with the presence and severity of OSA (0.27 ± 0.85, 1.07 ± 2.44, 1.75 ± 2.85, and 2.55 ± 3.96 respectively, p = 0.001). In addition, AHI and age were independent predictors of the presence of non-calcified/mixed plaques (p < 0.001 and p = 0.007, respectively).
Conclusions: The presence of coronary artery plaques, especially non-calcified/mixed plaques, and coronary artery stenosis as measured by CCTA was significantly associated with the severity of sleep-disordered breathing in symptomatic patients at low to intermediate risk of coronary artery disease. Prospective studies are needed to establish the relationship between plaque burden and OSA.