Sleep apnea prevalent in patients with asymptomatic extracranial carotid stenosis and is linked with the severity of arteriosclerotic disease, according to a new study.

Between 2007 and 2012 Jens Ehrhardt, MSc, of Jena University Hospital in Germany, and colleagues performed polysomnography on 96 patients (mean age, 65.9 years) diagnosed with asymptomatic carotid stenosis to determine the severity of sleep apnea for different degrees of carotid stenosis. Seventy-five patients had severe disease vs. 21 patients with mild to moderate stenosis.

Sleep apnea was present in 68.8% of the patients; obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was determined in 41.7% of the cohort and central sleep apnea (CSA) was prevalent in 27.1%.

The prevalence of sleep apnea in patients with severe carotid stenosis was greater than that of patients with mild or moderate disease (76% vs. 42.4%; P ?.01).

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