The relationship between high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels and the severity of obstructive sleep apnea
Background and objective
There is an increased risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is a marker that predicts atherosclerotic complications. However, there are contradictory results about the correlation between serum hs-CRP levels and OSA severity. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the relationship between hs-CRP levels and the severity of OSA in newly diagnosed OSA patients.
The study group was composed of 76 patients with clinical suspicion of OSA. Subjects with body mass indexes (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2 were classified as obese. Full-night polysomnography (PSG) was performed on all patients. Patients with an apnea–hypopnea index (AHI) ≥5 were considered to have OSA, and patients with an AHI < 5 were accepted as the control group. Blood samples were taken from all patients to analyze serum hs-CRP levels the morning after PSG.
The serum hs-CRP levels were significantly higher in the OSA group (4.03 ± 3.58 mg/L) than in the control group (2.41 ± 1.95 mg/L) (p = 0.013). This high level was positively correlated with BMI (r = 0.376, p = 0.001) and with AHI (r = 0.280, p = 0.014). In multiple regression analysis, elevated hs-CRP levels were associated with AHI (F = 3.293, p = 0.033), which was independent of obesity.
Patients with OSA have elevated serum levels of hs-CRP, a marker for inflammation and an independent risk predictor for cardiovascular morbidity. The severity of OSA is responsible for the elevation of hs-CRP.