Gonzola Lambarca Trocios, MD: Quantifying Arousal Intensity in Sleep Apnea

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Sleep fragmentation in obstructive sleep apnea is measured by the number of EEG arousals per hour of sleep but new data from SLEEP 2023 dive deeper into the intensity of arousals.

According to a presentation from SLEEP 2023 in Indianapolis, IN, measuring arousal intensity in patients with obstructive sleep apnea can offer valuable information related to cognitive risk levels.

The condition is characterized by intermittent hypoxemia and sleep fragmentation, which contribute to various comorbidities and risk factors. Sleep fragmentation is typically measured by the number of electroencephalographic (EEG) arousals per hour of sleep.

However, the intensity of these arousals is not often considered, according to the presentation "Novel OSA-Driven Metric Predicts Incident Dementia in Sleep Apnea in 2 Different Community-Based Cohort Studies."

Subsequent research is necessary to validate these results and to explore the potential mechanisms that link arousal intensity to the risk of dementia in obstructive sleep apnea, lead investigator Gonzalo Labarca Trucios, MD, instructor in medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, said.

"The next step will be to look for another study or run an independent study, just in trying to determine the mediation–what's the effect of the CPAP in those with higher oxygen intensity?" he explained in an interview with HCPLive.

The population evaluated did not participate in continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Assessing these markers among those receiving CPAP treatment is another possible direction for future research and enhance precision medicine.

"If we put these novel markers together, policy decision-makers or patients can get more information about the risks associated with the disease, and they can better identify the best treatment for his or her disease," Lambarca Trocios said.