C-reactive protein is elevated in heart failure patients with central sleep apnea and Cheyne-Stokes respiration

Heidi Schmalgemeier, Thomas Bitter, Thomas Fischbach, Dieter Horstkotte, Olaf Oldenburg
Respiration; International Review of Thoracic Diseases 2014, 87 (2): 113-20

BACKGROUND: Manifestation of central sleep apnea (CSA) with Cheyne-Stokes respiration is of major prognostic impact in chronic heart failure (CHF). Inflammatory processes have been linked to a progression of cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure. While an association of C-reactive protein (CRP) levels to obstructive sleep apnea has been documented before, there is a lack of information regarding variation of CRP levels in patients with CSA.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to investigate a potential association of CRP levels to CSA severity in CHF patients.

METHODS: High sensitivity CRP levels were analyzed in 966 patients with CHF (BMI 26.3 ± 4.6, New York Heart Association class 2.6 ± 0.5, left ventricular ejection fraction 29.4 ± 7.9%, N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide, NT-proBNP, level 2,209 ± 3,315 pg/ml) without sleep-disordered breathing (SDB; Apnea-Hypopnea Index, AHI, <5/h) or various degrees of CSA, documented by in-hospital cardiorespiratory polygraphy or polysomnography.

RESULTS: The CRP concentration in CHF patients was 0.550 ± 0.794 mg/dl in patients without SDB (AHI 0-4/h, n = 403) versus 0.488 ± 0.708 mg/dl in patients with mild CSA (AHI 5-14/h, n = 123, p = n.s.) and 0.660 ± 0.963 mg/dl in patients with moderate CSA (AHI 15-29/h, n = 160, p = n.s.). In patients with severe CSA (AHI ≥ 30/h, n = 280), significantly higher CRP concentrations were documented (0.893 ± 1.384 mg/dl, p < 0.05). Stepwise regression analysis revealed AHI, NT-proBNP and heart rate to be independently associated with elevated CRP levels.

CONCLUSION: Severe CSA in CHF patients is associated with elevated levels of CRP, a systemic marker of inflammation and cardiovascular risk. This might explain in part the negative prognostic impact of CSA in these patients.

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