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Nocturnal heart rate variability in obstructive sleep apnoea: a cross-sectional analysis of the Sleep Heart Health Study


Bradicich, Matteo; Sievi, Noriane A; Grewe, Fabian A; Gasperetti, Alessio; Kohler, Malcolm; Schwarz, Esther I (2020). Nocturnal heart rate variability in obstructive sleep apnoea: a cross-sectional analysis of the Sleep Heart Health Study. Journal of Thoracic Disease, 12(S2):S129-S138.

Abstract

Background: Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) results in sympathetic overdrive. Increased nocturnal heart rate variability (HRV) is a surrogate marker of autonomic disturbance. The aim was to study the association of the apnoea-hypopnea index (AHI), nocturnal hypoxaemia, and sleep fragmentation with nocturnal HRV to address the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying autonomic disturbance in OSA.

Methods: Participants of the Sleep Hearth Health Study with available data on nocturnal HRV and an AHI ≥10/h have been included in this cross-sectional analysis. The main outcome of interest was the association of sleep fragmentation, nocturnal hypoxaemia, and the AHI with nocturnal HRV. Multivariate regression modelling with the mean of the standard deviations of normal-sinus-to-normal-sinus-interbeat intervals in all 5-minute segments (SDNNIDX) and with low to high frequency power-ratio (LF/HF) as dependent variables controlling for prespecified confounders (age, sex, cups of coffee, beta blocker, nocturnal heart rate) was used to assess the contribution of the arousal index, total sleep time with an oxygen saturation <90% (TST90) and the AHI not due to arousals to HRV. The significance level was set at P<0.01.

Results: In 258 patients with OSA (mean ± SD age 62±10 years, BMI 29±4 kg/m2, median (IQR) AHI 18.6/h (14.0–25.6), the arousal index (coef =0.42, P=0.002) was independently positively associated with SDNNIDX also after having controlled for potential confounders, whereas the AHI (coef =0.22, P=0.030) and TST90 (coef =0.36, P=0.054) were not. The arousal index—but not TST and AHI—was also independently associated with LF/HF.

Conclusions: In OSA, pronounced sleep fragmentation is associated with higher nocturnal HRV and a sympatho-vagal imbalance with sympathetic dominance. OSA severity and nocturnal hypoxaemia did not independently predict nocturnal HRV.

Keywords: Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA); heart rate variability (HRV); arousal index; intermittent hypoxia; sleep fragmentation

Abstract

Background: Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) results in sympathetic overdrive. Increased nocturnal heart rate variability (HRV) is a surrogate marker of autonomic disturbance. The aim was to study the association of the apnoea-hypopnea index (AHI), nocturnal hypoxaemia, and sleep fragmentation with nocturnal HRV to address the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying autonomic disturbance in OSA.

Methods: Participants of the Sleep Hearth Health Study with available data on nocturnal HRV and an AHI ≥10/h have been included in this cross-sectional analysis. The main outcome of interest was the association of sleep fragmentation, nocturnal hypoxaemia, and the AHI with nocturnal HRV. Multivariate regression modelling with the mean of the standard deviations of normal-sinus-to-normal-sinus-interbeat intervals in all 5-minute segments (SDNNIDX) and with low to high frequency power-ratio (LF/HF) as dependent variables controlling for prespecified confounders (age, sex, cups of coffee, beta blocker, nocturnal heart rate) was used to assess the contribution of the arousal index, total sleep time with an oxygen saturation <90% (TST90) and the AHI not due to arousals to HRV. The significance level was set at P<0.01.

Results: In 258 patients with OSA (mean ± SD age 62±10 years, BMI 29±4 kg/m2, median (IQR) AHI 18.6/h (14.0–25.6), the arousal index (coef =0.42, P=0.002) was independently positively associated with SDNNIDX also after having controlled for potential confounders, whereas the AHI (coef =0.22, P=0.030) and TST90 (coef =0.36, P=0.054) were not. The arousal index—but not TST and AHI—was also independently associated with LF/HF.

Conclusions: In OSA, pronounced sleep fragmentation is associated with higher nocturnal HRV and a sympatho-vagal imbalance with sympathetic dominance. OSA severity and nocturnal hypoxaemia did not independently predict nocturnal HRV.

Keywords: Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA); heart rate variability (HRV); arousal index; intermittent hypoxia; sleep fragmentation

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Pneumology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
Language:English
Date:1 October 2020
Deposited On:03 Dec 2020 10:56
Last Modified:01 Jan 2021 21:02
Publisher:AME Publishing Company
ISSN:2072-1439
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.21037/jtd-cus-2020-005
PubMed ID:33214918

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