Sleep Disordered Breathing and Risk of Stroke in Older Community-Dwelling Men

Katie L Stone, Terri L Blackwell, Sonia Ancoli-Israel, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, Douglas C Bauer, Jane A Cauley, Kristine E Ensrud, Andrew R Hoffman, Reena Mehra, Marcia L Stefanick, Paul D Varosy, Kristine Yaffe, Susan Redline
Sleep 2016 March 1, 39 (3): 531-40

STUDY OBJECTIVES: Men with sleep disordered breathing (SDB) may be at increased stroke risk, due to nocturnal hypoxemia, sleep loss or fragmentation, or other mechanisms. We examined the association of SDB with risk of incident stroke in a large cohort of older men.

METHODS: Participants were 2,872 community-dwelling men (mean age 76 years) enrolled in the MrOS Sleep Study, which gathered data from 2003 to 2005 at six clinical sites in the Unites States. SDB predictors (obstructive apnea-hypopnea index, apnea-hypopnea index, central apnea index, and nocturnal hypoxemia) were measured using overnight polysomnography. Incident stroke over an average follow-up of 7.3 years was centrally adjudicated by physician review of medical records.

RESULTS: One hundred fifty-six men (5.4%) had a stroke during follow-up. After adjustment for age, clinic site, race, body mass index, and smoking status, older men with severe nocturnal hypoxemia (≥ 10% of the night with SpO2 levels below 90%) had a 1.8-fold increased risk of incident stroke compared to those without nocturnal hypoxemia (relative hazard = 1.83; 95% confidence interval 1.12-2.98; P trend = 0.02). Results were similar after further adjustment for other potential covariates and after excluding men with a history of stroke. Other indices of SDB were not associated with incident stroke.

CONCLUSIONS: Older men with severe nocturnal hypoxemia are at significantly increased risk of incident stroke. Measures of overnight oxygen saturation may better identify older men at risk for stroke than measures of apnea frequency.

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