, Volume 191, Issue 1, pp 1–7 | Cite as

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome: Blood Viscosity, Blood Coagulation Abnormalities, and Early Atherosclerosis

  • Domenico Maurizio ToraldoEmail author
  • Francesco Peverini
  • Michele De Benedetto
  • Francesco De Nuccio


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis and arterial thrombosis, which are associated with high cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality. In studies performed in clinical populations with elevated CV event risk profiles, the occurrence of moderate to severe OSAS was very often accompanied by a worsened vascular function and increased prevalence of structural abnormalities. Recent investigations of atherosclerosis in OSAS have focused on thrombotic tendency and blood viscosity, providing new insight into mechanisms of the disease. Despite that knowledge about the mechanisms of development of CV disease in patients with OSAS is still incomplete, observations confirm a relationship between sleep-disordered breathing and the rheological properties (flow properties) of blood. While platelet dysfunction and hypercoagulability (PDMPs, PaI-1, and SF) play important roles in the pathogenesis of vascular disease, there are limited studies on the potential role of blood viscosity in the development of vascular disease in OSAS.


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome Blood viscosity Hemostatic alterations Early atherosclerosis 



The authors thank Miss Stephanie Grice MBiochem, MSc (Oxon), from the UK, for the editing of this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Domenico Maurizio Toraldo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francesco Peverini
    • 3
  • Michele De Benedetto
    • 4
  • Francesco De Nuccio
    • 2
  1. 1.Third Division“A. Galateo” Lung Disease Hospital, ASL LecceLecceItaly
  2. 2.Laboratory of Human Anatomy and Neuroscience, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and TechnologiesUniversity of SalentoLecceItaly
  3. 3.Foundation for Research and Treatment of Sleep DisordersMater Dei HospitalRomeItaly
  4. 4.Division of Otolaryngology“V. Fazzi” Hospital, ASL LecceLecceItaly

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