Elevated C-reactive protein levels and increased cardiovascular risk in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Int Heart J. 2005 Sep;46(5):801-9. doi: 10.1536/ihj.46.801.


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is associated with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Inflammatory processes associated with OSAS may contribute to cardiovascular morbidity in these patients. C-reactive protein (CRP) is an important serum marker of inflammation. We tested the hypothesis that patients with OSAS have increased plasma CRP. After 173 male subjects underwent polysomnography, 94 were considered to have OSAS (apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) > 5), 38 cardiovascular disease (CVD), and 56 without CVD. Seventy-nine subjects were considered not to have OSAS (AHI < 5) and from among these 57 patients without CVD were enrolled as control subjects. Serum CRP levels were significantly elevated in the OSAS + CVD group compared to the two other groups (P < 0.05). When we evaluated the association between the serum CRP level and severity of OSAS, CRP levels were positively correlated with AHI in OSAS patients (r = 0.61, P < 0.001) OSAS, as a marker of inflammation and cardiovascular risk, is associated with elevated levels of CRP. According to these results, the link between cardiovascular morbidity and OSAS may be explained by the coexistence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as circulating CRP levels.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Polysomnography
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / blood*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*


  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein