Associations of sleep-disordered breathing and cerebral changes on MRI.

John Robbins, Susan Redline, Ann Ervin, Joyce A. Walsleben, Jingzhong Ding, F. Javier Nieto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


STUDY OBJECTIVES: Population-based studies have demonstrated associations between sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), hypertension, and cardiovascular disease; few large-scale studies have examined associations of SDB with objective measures of cerebrovascular disease. This study tested the significance of associations of SDB with evidence of brain injury or ischemia determined by cerebral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies. DESIGN: Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses in a nested sample of Cardiovascular Health Study participants in the Sleep Heart Health Study. PARTICIPANTS: The 843 individuals (mean age 77, SD 4.3 years, 58% women) who had MRI studies as part of the Cardiovascular Health Study before and after polysomnography obtained as part of the Sleep Heart Health Study. MEASUREMENTS: A 12-channel polysomnogram was used to derive indexes of sleep-disordered breathing. Repeated MRI measurements provided indexes of infarct (presence and size) and white matter disease. Logistic regression analyses were used to model MRI changes of infarct-like lesions and white matter disease as a function of age, baseline white matter grade, and indexes of central and obstructive sleep-disordered breathing. RESULTS: Individuals who showed progression in white matter disease compared to those who did not were significantly more likely to show a Cheyne-Stokes respiration pattern and to have an increased number of central but not obstructive apneas. CONCLUSIONS: An association between change in white matter grade and measures of central sleep apnea was demonstrated that was consistent with a causal pathway in which central sleep apnea contributes to the progression of white matter disease; alternatively, central sleep apnea may be a marker of subclinical cerebrovascular or cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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