(RxWiki News) Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have more active atherosclerotic disease (a condition in which an artery wall thickens as the result of a build-up of fatty materials).
These patients face a greater degree of vessel involvement than patients without obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that causes abnormal pauses in breathing or abnormally low breathing when sleeping. The finding arrives according to a retrospective matched cohort study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
Researchers also found that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients also have a more dangerous form of plaque (noncalcified) build-up, which was picked up in coronary CT angiography tests. The event marks the first time a noninvasive test has been applied to demonstrate this finding.
"The clinical relevance is that we have a noninvasive tool at hand that allows us potentially to care better for our patients who have that disease," said Dr. U. Joseph Schoepf of the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.
Schoepf said computed tomography provides the only noninvasive test that directly evaluates cardiac vessel patency and analyzes the composition of atherosclerotic lesions on vessel walls, which is why the test was used to study the link between OSA and coronary artery disease.
Noncalcified plaque (soft or vulnerable plaque) showed a significant correspondence with OSA anytime it was measured in the study's 97 patients.