Scientific publications

Severe sleep apnea and risk of ischemic stroke in the elderly

Roberto Muñoz (1), Joaquín Durán-Cantolla (2), Eduardo Martínez-Vila (3), Jaime Gallego (1), Ramón Rubio (2), Felipe Aizpuru (4), Germán De La Torre (2) 
(1) Department of Neurology, Hospital de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
(2) Sleep Unit, Department of Neumology, Hospital Txagorritxu, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.
(3) Department of Neurology, Clínica Universitaria de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
(4) Research Unit, Hospital Txagorritxu, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

Magazine: Stroke

Date: Sep 1, 2006

Neurology [SP]

Convincing evidence of a causal relationship between sleep apnea and stroke has been shown recently in several prospective, well-designed studies. However, these studies have focused on middle-aged people, excluding the elderly population from analysis. To investigate whether sleep apnea represents an independent risk factor in this population, we performed a prospective longitudinal study in a population-based cohort of subjects from 70 to 100 years old.

Within the context of the Vitoria Sleep Project, a population-based study designed to investigate the prevalence of sleep apnea in the population of Vitoria, Spain, we performed a 6-year longitudinal study in a subsample cohort of 394 noninstitutionalized, initially event-free subjects (70 to 100 years old, median 77.28 years, 57.1% males). Demographic and polysomnographic data and known confounding factors (age, sex, smoking and alcohol consumption status, body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total serum cholesterol levels, and the presence or absence of diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation, and hypertension) were assessed at baseline. Hazard ratio for developing an ischemic stroke in relation to the apnea-hypopnea index at baseline was calculated.

Over the 6-year follow-up period, 20 ischemic strokes were registered. After adjustment for confounding factors, subjects with severe obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea (defined as apnea-hypopnea index >or=30) at baseline had an increased risk of developing a stroke (hazard ratio=2.52, 95% CI=1.04 to 6.01, P=0.04).

This study shows that severe obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea (defined as apnea-hypopnea index >or=30) increases the risk of ischemic stroke in the elderly population, independent of known confounding factors.

CITATION Stroke. 2006 Sep;37(9):2317-21

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