Obstructive sleep apnea and chronic kidney disease

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is highly prevalent in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The relationship between OSA and CKD is likely to be bi-directional. On one hand, the presence of OSA leads to intermittent hypoxia, sympathetic nervous system activity, and hypertension, all of which may have deleterious effects on kidney function. On the other hand, in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), intensification of renal replacement therapy has been shown to attenuate sleep apnea severity, suggesting that the renal disease itself contributes to the pathogenesis of OSA. The present review describes our current understanding of the bi-directional relationship between OSA and CKD.

Recent findings

Studies suggest that the presence of OSA and nocturnal hypoxia may lead to worsening of kidney function. One potential mechanism is activation of the renin–angiotensin system by OSA, an effect which may be attenuated by CPAP therapy. In ESRD, fluid overload plays an important role in the pathogenesis of OSA and fluid removal by ultrafiltration leads to marked improvements in sleep apnea severity.

Summary

OSA is associated with accelerated loss of kidney function. In patients with ESRD, fluid overload plays an important role in the pathogenesis of OSA.

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