Altered plasma fibrin clot properties in hypertensive patients with obstructive sleep apnoea are improved by continuous positive airway pressure treatment

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Abstract

Aim:

We investigated plasma fibrin clot properties in high-risk hypertensive patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and assessed the impact of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment on clot phenotype.

Methods:

We studied 50 hypertensive patients with clinically significant OSA (age 50.0 ± 8.8 years, 39 M, 11 F). In total, 38 hypertensive patients without OSA balanced for age, sex, blood pressure, cardiovascular risk factors, and metabolic status served as controls. Plasma fibrin clot properties, including clot permeability coefficient, clot lysis time (CLT), and turbidimetric parameters of clot formation were determined. Patients underwent transthoracic echocardiography, carotid ultrasonography, evaluation of endothelial function and calcium score index of coronary arteries, and Doppler imaging of renal arteries.

Results:

Compared with controls, OSA patients were characterized by more compact fibrin structure (lower median clot permeability coefficient, 6.00 vs. 7.25 10−9 cm2; P < 0.001), impaired fibrinolysis (longer median CLT, 108.00 vs. 92.50 min; P < 0.001), and by faster clot formation (shorter median lag phase, 40.50 vs. 42.50 s; P = 0.041), and higher median maximum clot absorbency indicating denser fibrin networks (0.87 vs. 0.81; P = 0.028). Clot permeability coefficient and CLT correlated with apnoea–hypopnoea index (r = −0.46; P < 0.001 and r = 0.44; P < 0.001, respectively) as well with mean (r = 0.31; P = 0.003; r = −0.36; P = 0.001, respectively) and minimal oxygen saturation (r = 0.46; P < 0.001; r = −0.49; P < 0.001, respectively). After 3 months of CPAP treatment we observed an increase in clot permeability coefficient (5.95 vs. 7.60 10−9 cm2; P = 0,001), shortened CLT (107.00 vs. 87.00; P = 0.006), a longer lag phase of fibrin formation (40.00 vs. 43.50 s; P = 0.013), and a trend toward lower maximum clot absorbency (0.86 vs. 0.81; P = 0.058).

Conclusion:

In hypertensive patients at high cardiovascular risk, OSA was associated with unfavourable prothrombotic fibrin clot characteristics, including hypofibrinolysis, which significantly improve as early as after 3 months of CPAP treatment.

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