Interaction between Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Acute Ischemic Stroke

J Clin Neurol. 2013 Jan;9(1):9-13. doi: 10.3988/jcn.2013.9.1.9. Epub 2013 Jan 3.


Background and purpose: Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is suggested to be strongly associated with ischemic strokes. Risk factors, stroke subtypes, stroke lesion distribution, and the outcome of SDB in stroke patients remain unclear in Korea.

Methods: We prospectively studied 293 patients (159 men, 134 women; age 68.4±10.5) with acute ischemic stroke. Cardiovascular risk factors, stroke severity, sleep-related stroke onset, distribution of stroke lesions, and 3-month score on the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) were assessed. Stroke severity was assessed by the US National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and the mRS. The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was determined 6.3±2.2 days after stroke onset with the Apnea Link portable sleep apnea monitoring device.

Results: The prevalence of SDB (defined as an AHI of ≥10) was 63.1% (111 men, 74 women). Those in the SDB group were older, had higher NIHSS and mRS scores, greater bulbar weakness, and a higher incidence of sleep-associated stroke onset. Among risk-factor profiles, alcohol consumption and atrial fibrillation were significantly related to SDB. The stroke outcome was worse in patients with SDB than in those without SDB. The lesion location and specific stroke syndrome were not correlated with SDB.

Conclusions: SDB is very common in acute cerebral infarction. Different risk-factor profiles and sleep-related stroke onsets suggest SDB as a cause of ischemic stroke. The higher NIHSS score and greater bulbar involvement in the SDB group seem to show the influence of ischemic stroke on the increased SDB prevalence.

Keywords: acute cerebral infarction; prevalence; sleep-disordered breathing.