S. Andonova-Atanasova 1, D. Petkova 2, M. Novakova 3, R. Georgiev 3
1 Department of Neurology, Second Clinic of Neurology,
2 Clinic of Pneumology and Phtisiology,
3 Department of Radiology, University Hospital St Marina – Varna, Bulgaria

Objective: To evaluate the change of intima-media thickness of the carotid artery in patients suffering by obstructive sleep apnea (OSAS) and asymptomatic ischemic disturbances of cerebral circulation.

Materials and Methods: The participants of the study are divided into 2 groups: 12 patients suffering from OSAS and asymptomatic ischemic disturbances of cerebral circulation (mean age 50.7±8.4 years), and a control group of 10 participants (mean age 50.4±8.4 years), having risk factors (RF) for cerebrovascular diseases (CVD) and asymptomatic ischemic disturbances of cerebral circulation but not OSAS. The morphology of the artery wall – the thickness of the intima media complex (IMT) of the common carotid arteries (CCA), the presence of atherosclerotic plaques, their magnitude, echogenicity and stability- are determined by a color-coded duplex sonography of the main arteries of the head.

Results: In the OSAS group, CCA-IMT was significantly increased when compared with the non-OSAS patients and asymptomatic ischemic disturbances of cerebral circulation, having risk factors (RF) for CVD and asymptomatic ischemic disturbances of cerebral circulation, which correlated with night hypoxemia level. Additionally, the formation of plaques was more pronounced and carotid stenoses were more common in the OSAS patients.

Discussion: These findings are in favor of an independent influence of obstructive sleep apnea on carotid artery atherosclerosis and asymtomatic changes of the brain in performet MRI.

Key words: asymptomatic ischemic disturbances, intima-media thickness, obstructive sleep apnea, MRI.

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