Endotypic traits of supine position and supine-predominant obstructive sleep apnoea in Asian patients

Eur Respir J. 2024 Mar 7;63(3):2301660. doi: 10.1183/13993003.01660-2023. Print 2024 Mar.


Background: Over half of all cases of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) are classified as supine-related OSA; however, the pathological endotype during supine position is not fully understood. This study aims to investigate the endotypic traits of supine-predominant OSA and explore the variations in endotypic traits between the supine and lateral positions.

Methods: We prospectively recruited 689 adult patients with OSA from a single sleep centre between April 2020 and December 2022. Endotypic traits, namely arousal threshold, collapsibility, loop gain and upper airway muscle compensation, were retrieved from polysomnographic signals. We identified spOSA by a supine to non-supine apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) ratio >2. We cross-sectionally compared demographic and endotypic traits between supine-predominant OSA and non-positional OSA and examined the associations between supine-predominant OSA and endotypic traits. Additionally, we compared the changes in endotypic traits between supine and lateral positions in patients with supine-predominant OSA and non-positional OSA.

Results: In our study sample, 75.8% of patients were identified as having supine-predominant OSA. Compared to non-positional OSA, supine-predominant OSA was associated with low collapsibility (β= -3.46 %eupnoea, 95% CI -5.93- -1.00 %eupnoea) and reduced compensation (β= -6.79 %eupnoea, 95% CI -10.60- -2.99 %eupnoea). When transitioning from the lateral to supine position, patients with supine-predominant OSA had a substantial decrease in compensation compared to those with non-positional OSA (-11.98 versus -6.28 %eupnoea).

Conclusions: Supine-predominant OSA is the prevalent phenotype of OSA in Asian patients. Inadequate upper airway compensation appears to be a crucial underlying pathology in patients with supine-predominant OSA.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / diagnosis
  • Supine Position / physiology