Association between Snoring and High-Risk Carotid Plaque Features

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Previous 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 Design



Tertiary care university hospital and affiliated county hospital.


We 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.


Of 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.


This 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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