The link between cardiac autonomic activity and sleep delta power is altered in men with sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome

F Jurysta, J-P Lanquart, P van de Borne, P-F Migeotte, M Dumont, J-P Degaute, P Linkowski
American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 2006, 291 (4): R1165-71
We hypothesize that sleep apnea-hypopnea alters interaction between cardiac vagal modulation and sleep delta EEG. Sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (SAHS) is related to cardiovascular complications in men. SAHS patients show higher sympathetic activity than normal subjects. In healthy men, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep is associated with cardiac vagal influence, whereas rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is linked to cardiac sympathetic activity. Interaction between cardiac autonomic modulation and delta sleep EEG is not altered across a life span nor is the delay between appearances of modifications in both signals. Healthy controls, moderate SAHS, and severe SAHS patients were compared across the first three NREM-REM cycles. Spectral analysis was applied to ECG and EEG signals. High frequency (HF) and low frequency (LF) of heart rate variability (HRV), ratio of LF/HF, and normalized (nu) delta power were obtained. A coherency analysis between HF(nu) and delta was performed, as well as a correlation analysis between obstructive apnea index (AI) or hypopnea index (HI) and gain, coherence, or phase shift. HRV components were similar between groups. In each group, HF(nu) was larger during NREM, while LF(nu) predominated across REM and wake stages. Coherence and gain between HF(nu) and delta decreased from controls to severe SAHS patients. In SAHS patients, the delay between modifications in HF(nu) and delta did not differ from zero. AI and HI correlated negatively with coherence, while HI correlated negatively with gain only. Apneas-hypopneas affect the link between cardiac sympathetic and vagal modulation and delta EEG demonstrated by the loss of cardiac autonomic activity fluctuations across shifts in sleep stages. Obstructive apneas and hypopneas alter the interaction between both signals differently.

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