PURPOSE: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been implicated in both cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Systemic inflammation and coagulation may be related to cardiovascular pathophysiology in patients with OSA. Fibrinogen is a major coagulation protein associated with inflammation, and long-term elevated plasma fibrinogen is associated with an increased risk of major cardiovascular diseases. We assessed whether severity of OSA is associated with levels of fibrinogen in newly diagnosed, untreated, and otherwise healthy OSA patients.
METHODS: We studied 36 men with OSA and 18 male control subjects (apnea-hypopnea index [AHI]
RESULTS: Fibrinogen levels were significantly elevated in patients with severe OSA compared to both control (P=0.003) and mild OSA (P=0.02) subjects after adjustment for covariates. However, there were no significant differences in fibrinogen levels between mild OSA and control subjects. Fibrinogen levels were directly related to AHI and arousal index and inversely related to mean and lowest oxygen saturation during sleep.
CONCLUSIONS: Severity of OSA was associated with increased fibrinogen level independent of other factors, suggesting that apneic events and oxygen desaturation during sleep are mechanisms for increased fibrinogen levels in patients with OSA.
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