Flow-mediated dilatation identifies impaired endothelial function in patients with sleep apnea syndrome

Fukushima J Med Sci. 2010 Dec;56(2):115-20. doi: 10.5387/fms.56.115.


Background: Non-invasive detection of vascular dysfunction in the early stage is clinically important in patients with sleep apnea syndrome (SAS). Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) is a novel clinical marker of endothelial function. However, it is not clear whether this is useful in the SAS patient.

Methods: Echocardiographic parameters and FMD were measured in 129 patients with SAS. Apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was defined by polygraphy, and patients were divided into the two Groups: Group A (moderate-severe SAS: AHI≥ 15 times/hr, n=93) and Group B (mild SAS: AHI 5-15 times/hr, n=36).

Results: There were no significant differences in echocardiographic parameters between the two groups. However, FMD was significantly lower in Group A than in Group B (3.5±1.6 vs. 7.8±3.1, P< 0.01).

Conclusions: Although cardiac function was not different, vascular dysfunction was evident in patients with moderate-severe SAS. FMD is a useful tool to identify impaired endothelial function non-invasively in patients with SAS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Vasodilation