Cognitive Neurodynamics

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 471–480 | Cite as

Electrophysiological and neuropsychological outcomes of severe obstructive sleep apnea: effects of hypoxemia on cognitive performance

  • Deniz Yerlikaya
  • Derya Durusu Emek-Savaş
  • Behice Bircan Kurşun
  • İbrahim Öztura
  • Görsev G. YenerEmail author
Research Article


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is a sleep disorder characterized with upper airway obstructions. Some studies showed cognitive and electrophysiological changes in patients with OSAS; however, contradictory results were also reported. The purpose of the present study was twofold: (1) to investigate cognitive changes in severe OSAS patients by using neuropsychological tests and electrophysiological methods together, (2) to investigate influence of hypoxemia levels on cognition. Fifty-four severe OSAS patients and 34 age-, gender- and education matched healthy subjects were participated. OSAS patients were further divided into two subgroups according to minimum oxygen saturation levels. All participants underwent a detailed neuropsychological test battery. A classical visual oddball task was used to elicit ERP P300 and mean P300 amplitudes were measured from Fz, Cz and Pz electrode sites. OSAS patients showed reduced mean P300 amplitudes up to 43–51% on all electrode sites compared to healthy controls. Subgroup analysis revealed significant differences in neuropsychological test scores between healthy controls and high hypoxemia OSAS group, as well as between low and high hypoxemia groups. Moreover, both low and high hypoxemia OSAS groups had lower P300 amplitudes compared with healthy controls. P300 amplitudes showed a gradual decline in parallel with increasing hypoxemia severity; however, the difference between high and low hypoxemia OSAS groups did not reach significance. Moderate correlations were found between sleep parameters, neuropsychological test scores and P300 amplitudes. These results suggest that electrophysiological measures could be better indicators of cognitive changes than neuropsychological tests in OSAS, particularly in mildly affected patients.


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome OSAS Event-related potentials P300 Neuropsychological tests Hypoxemia 



This study was supported by Dokuz Eylul University Scientific Research Projects (Project Number: 2014.KB.SAG.058).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deniz Yerlikaya
    • 1
  • Derya Durusu Emek-Savaş
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Behice Bircan Kurşun
    • 4
  • İbrahim Öztura
    • 4
  • Görsev G. Yener
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Neurosciences, Institute of Health SciencesDokuz Eylül UniversityIzmirTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Faculty of LettersDokuz Eylül UniversityIzmirTurkey
  3. 3.Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI)Trinity College DublinDublinIreland
  4. 4.Department of NeurologyDokuz Eylül University Medical SchoolIzmirTurkey
  5. 5.Brain Dynamics Multidisciplinary Research CenterDokuz Eylül UniversityIzmirTurkey

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