This cross-sectional study was conducted to examine whether the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is associated with elevation of the pulse wave velocity (PWV) and increase in the plasma levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), both of which are known markers of cardiovascular risk, and also to determine if the concurrent presence of the metabolic syndrome might exacerbate this elevation in the levels of these cardiovascular risk markers in subjects with OSAS. With these objectives, the PWV and serum CRP were measured in 184 subjects attending a sleep clinic. It was found that the PWV and CRP were higher in the subjects with OSAS (n=94) than in those without OSAS (n=90). Furthermore, among the subjects with OSAS, the PWV and CRP were higher in those with the concurrent presence of the metabolic syndrome (n= 41; PWV=1,562+/-19 cm/s; CRP=1.8+/-0.2 mg/l) than in those without metabolic syndrome (n=53; PWV=1,432+/-21 cm/s; CRP=1.2+/-0.1 mg/l) (p<0.05). A general linear model analysis demonstrated that OSAS and metabolic syndrome were independently associated with elevated PWV and increase of the plasma levels of CRP. OSAS appears to be associated with increased cardiovascular risk, as reflected by both elevated PWV and increase of the plasma CRP. The concurrent presence of metabolic syndrome may exacerbate this increase in cardiovascular risk in subjects with OSAS. Therefore, the concurrent presence of metabolic syndrome may constitute an additive cardiovascular risk factor in subjects with OSAS.