Association between Snoring and High-Risk Carotid Plaque Features

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ObjectivesPrevious studies have demonstrated an association between snoring and carotid disease independent of sleep apnea. The aim of this study was to quantify the association between self-reported snoring and high-risk carotid plaque features on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that predict stroke.Study DesignCross-sectional.SettingTertiary care university hospital and affiliated county hospital.MethodsWe surveyed 133 subjects with asymptomatic carotid artery disease that had been previously evaluated with high-resolution MRI. The survey captured data on self-reported snoring (exposure) and covariates (age, sex, body mass index, and sleep apnea via the STOP-Bang questionnaire). A subset of patients underwent home sleep apnea testing. High-risk carotid plaque features were identified on the high-resolution MRI and included thin/ruptured fibrous cap and intraplaque hemorrhage (outcomes). We quantified the association between snoring and high-risk carotid plaque features with the chi-square test (unadjusted analysis) and multivariate logistic regression adjusting for the covariates.ResultsOf 133 subjects surveyed, 61 (46%) responded; 32 (52%) reported snoring. Significantly higher proportions of snorers than nonsnorers had a thin/ruptured fibrous cap (56% vs 25%, P = .01) and intraplaque hemorrhage (63% vs 29%, P < .01). In multivariate analysis, snoring was associated with thin/ruptured fibrous cap (odds ratio, 4.4; 95% CI, 1.1-16.6; P = .04) and intraplaque hemorrhage (odds ratio, 8.2; 95% CI, 2.1-31.6; P < .01) after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, and sleep apnea.ConclusionThis pilot study suggests a significant independent association between snoring and high-risk carotid plaque features on MRI. Further study is warranted to confirm these results in a larger cohort of subjects.

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