Arrhythmogenic Substrates in Sleep-Disordered Breathing with Arterial Hypertension

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BackgroundSleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is highly associated with arterial hypertension (HT). Sympathetic hypertonia increases the risk of sudden cardiac death in patients with sleep apnea. This study aims to noninvasively investigate the electrophysiological features in SDB patients with and without arterial HT.MethodsFifty-three patients with SDB were classified into two groups: SDB group and SDB + HT group. Twenty subjects with arterial HT were enrolled as controls (HT group). To assess arrhythmogenic vulnerability, high-resolution 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiograms were obtained for analyzing continuous late potential (LP), T-wave amplitude variability (TAV), and heart rate variability (HRV).ResultsA higher incidence of positive LP was observed in the SDB + HT (85%) group than that observed in the SDB (50%) and HT (20%) groups (P < 0.01). TAV was highest in the SDB + HT group (78 μV) compared with the SDB (61 μV) and HT groups (42 μV; P < 0.01). Positive LP and TAV values were observed at night in the SDB + HT and SDB groups. The low-frequency/high-frequency of the HRV analysis was highest in the SDB + HT (4.7) group compared with that in the SDB (2.9) and HT (2.9) groups (P = 0.01).ConclusionNocturnal LP, TAV, and HRV examinations were useful to investigate arrhythmogenesis. SDB patients with arterial HT showed a high prevalence of depolarization and repolarization abnormalities and relative sympathetic hyperactivity. This suggests that an electrophysiological instability is more prevalent in SDB patients with arterial HT.

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