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. 2017 Jun 28;18(1):130.
doi: 10.1186/s12931-017-0607-9.

Independent Associations Between Arterial Bicarbonate, Apnea Severity and Hypertension in Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Free PMC article

Independent Associations Between Arterial Bicarbonate, Apnea Severity and Hypertension in Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Davoud Eskandari et al. Respir Res. .
Free PMC article


Background: Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by intermittent hypoxia and hypercapnia. CO2 production, transport and elimination are influenced by the carbonic anhydrase enzyme. We hypothesized that elevated standard bicarbonate, a proxy for increased carbonic anhydrase activity, is associated with apnea severity and higher blood pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of a sleep apnea cohort (n = 830) studied by ambulatory polygraphy. Office systolic/diastolic blood pressure, lung function, and arterial blood gases were assessed during daytime.

Results: Arterial standard bicarbonate was increased with apnea severity (mild/moderate/severe 24.1 ± 1.8, 24.4 ± 1.7 and 24.9 ± 2.9 mmol/l, respectively, Kruskal-Wallis test p < 0.001). Standard bicarbonate was independently associated with apnea hypopnea index after adjustment for sex, age, body mass index, smoking, alcohol, hypertension, pO2 and pCO2 (standard bicarbonate quartile 1 vs. quartile 4, β = 10.6, p < 0.001). Log-transformed standard bicarbonate was associated with a diagnosis of hypertension or diastolic blood pressure but not systolic blood pressure adjusting for cofounders (p = 0.007, 0.048 and 0.45, respectively).

Conclusions: There was an independent association between sleep apnea severity and arterial standard bicarbonate. The link between high standard bicarbonate and daytime hypertension suggests that carbonic anhydrase activity may constitute a novel mechanism for blood pressure regulation in sleep apnea.

Keywords: Acid base; Blood pressure; Carbonic anhydrase; Hypercapnia; Obstructive sleep apnea.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Study flow chart
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Arterial standard bicarbonate concentrations by sleep apnea severity class
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Prevalence of hypertension by sleep apnea severity and arterial standard bicarbonate quartile

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