Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is often accompanied with the chronic heart failure (CHF). Hypoxemia due to pulmonary congestion from CHF and concurrent SDB might synergistically impair endothelial function and worsen the prognosis. However, the main factors affecting deterioration of endothelial function are unknown and whether the influence of hypoxemia differs in SDB patients with and without CHF remains unclear. Fifty-three patients (CHF group, n = 23; non-CHF group, n = 30) underwent polysomnography to evaluate their SDB and flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) measurements to assess arterial endothelial function. We examined the relationships between FMD and SDB-related parameters, including our original index of accumulated hypoxemia by SDB throughout one-night sleep: the time desaturation summation index (TDS), calculated as follows: (100% - averaged arterial oxygen saturation during sleep) × total sleep time. The mean age in the CHF and non-CHF groups was 59.0 ± 13.5 and 57.7 ± 11.4 years, respectively. Although the FMD in the 2 groups were not significantly different, well-known adverse factors for FMD such as serum lipid profiles, blood pressure levels, and conventional indices of SDB were worse in the non-CHF group. Only the TDS was not significantly different between 2 groups and associated with FMD as shown by the univariate analysis (CHF: p < 0.05, non-CHF: p < 0.01) and multivariate analysis (CHF: p < 0.05, non-CHF: p < 0.01). Accumulated hypoxemia (TDS) rather than the frequency of hypoxemia might more influence on the endothelial function irrespective of the cardiac state. Removal of accumulation of nocturnal hypoxemia might be a target for treatment equally in the patients with and without CHF.
Keywords: Endothelial function; Heart failure; Hypoxemia; Sleep-disordered breathing.