Objective: Patients affected by obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and myocardial infarction. The pathophysiological mechanisms leading to increased vascular risk are still matter of debate. A relative morning hyperviscosity could be one of the leading mechanisms of cardiovascular morbidity which is actually known to be especially high in the morning hours.
Methods: Whole blood viscosity (WBV) at seven shear rates, ranging from 0.47 to 118 sec(-1), haematocrit (Hct), and plasma fibrinogen (F) concentration, were measured on venous blood samples in 12 patients with OSAS and in 8 healthy controls at 8-9 p.m. and at 7-8 a.m. the morning after. WBV values were normalized on Hct by the computation of the standardised normal deviate z on the normal database of the laboratory.
Results: No changes were observed in controls. Hct, F and normalized WBV (independently from Hct changes) significantly increased in the morning hours in OSAS patients.
Conclusions: Viscosity of whole blood increases in the morning in OSAS patients but not in healthy controls. This condition may be related to the increased susceptibility to cerebral ischemia in patients affected by OSAS, particularly evident in the early morning.