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Sleep DOI:10.1093/sleep/zsz274

Sex differences in obstructive sleep apnea phenotypes, the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsWon, CHJ, Reid, M, Sofer, T, Azarbarzin, A, Purcell, S, White, D, Wellman, A, Sands, S, Redline, S
Date Published2020 May 12

STUDY OBJECTIVES: The bases for sex disparities in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is poorly understood. We quantified the influences of event definitions, sleep-state, and body position on apnea-hypopnea indices (AHIs) in men and women, and evaluated sex differences in pathophysiological endotypes.

METHODS: Polysomnography (PSG) data were analyzed from 2057 participants from the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. Alternative AHIs were compared using various desaturation and arousal criteria. Endotypes (loop gain, airway collapsibility, arousal threshold) were derived using breath-by-breath analysis of PSG signals. Regression models estimated the extent to which endotypes explained sex differences in AHI.

RESULTS: The sample (mean 68.5 ± 9.2 years) included 54% women. OSA (AHI4P ≥15/h, defined by events with ≥4% desaturations) was found in 41.1% men and 21.8% women. Compared to AHI4P, male/female AHI ratios decreased by 5%-10% when using 3%-desaturation and/or arousal criteria; p

CONCLUSIONS: There are significant sex differences in NREM-AHI levels and in physiological endotypes. Physiological endotypes explained a significant portion of the relative sex differences in NREM-AHI. Definitions that use 4%-desaturation criteria under-estimate AHI in women. Combining NREM and REM events obscures OSA prevalence in REM in women.


Alternate JournalSleep
PubMed ID31687772