Association Between Severity of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Blood Markers of Liver Injury

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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may contribute to the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. We performed a multisite cross-sectional study to evaluate the association between the severity of OSA and blood markers of liver steatosis (using the hepatic steatosis index), cytolysis (based on alanine aminotransferase activity), and significant liver fibrosis (based on the FibroMeter [Echosens] nonalcoholic fatty liver disease score) in 1285 patients with suspected OSA in France. After adjusting for confounders including central obesity, the risk of liver steatosis increased with the severity of OSA (Pfor trend < .0001) and sleep-related hypoxemia (Pfor trend < .0003 for mean oxygen saturation). Decreasing mean oxygen saturation during sleep also was associated independently with a higher risk of liver cytolysis (Pfor trend < .0048). Severe OSA conferred an approximate 2.5-fold increase in risk for significant liver fibrosis compared with patients without OSA, but the association between OSA severity and liver fibrosis was not maintained after adjusting for confounders.

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