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, 110 (3), 670-9

Sleep Apnea Syndrome and Cerebral Hemodynamics


Sleep Apnea Syndrome and Cerebral Hemodynamics

G Hajak et al. Chest.


The dynamics of cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) during sleep were investigated in the right middle cerebral artery of 10 patients with sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) (mean age, 37 years) and 10 healthy control subjects (mean age, 32 years) throughout the entire sleep period. A computer-assisted pulsed (2 MHz) transcranial Doppler ultrasonography system was modified for continuous long-term and on-line recording of cerebral hemodynamics. Concurrently, simultaneous polysomnography, continuous BP recordings, and measurement of the end-expiratory carbon dioxide were undertaken. CBFV showed comparable nocturnal profiles in both groups with decreases during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and increases during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, indicating that the general pattern of brain perfusion during normal sleep is maintained in SAS. Sleep stage changes were not regularly accompanied by corresponding changes in CBFV. This reflected a quantitative uncoupling between cerebral electrical activity and cerebral perfusion during sleep and indicated a dissociation in the activity of central regulatory mechanisms. Sleep stage-related analysis showed slightly reduced CBFV in patients with SAS compared with healthy control subjects during wakefulness and the first NREM sleep period, suggesting depressed brain activity in the patient group. The higher CBFV values observed in patients with SAS compared with control subjects during REM sleep and sleep stage 2, both preceding and following REM sleep, underline the influence of dynamically changing sleep patterns on cerebral perfusion in these patients. Reproducible rapid decreases in CBFV were related to EEG arousals. Since apneas are terminated by arousals, these results showed that direct neuronal influences on brain perfusion during apnea are evident.

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