Decreased peripapillary and macular vascular densities in patients with moderate/severe obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome


Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center


Purpose: To compare peripapillary and macular vascular densities (PVDs and MVDs) between patients with obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (OSA) and control subjects with symptoms of sleep-related breathing disorders only by swept-source optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA).

Participants and methods: In this prospective study, 192 participants underwent a full-night polysomnography to determine OSA severity and subsequently received OCTA measurements as well as AngioTool software analysis.

Results: A total of 146 patients with OSA (51 mild, 43 moderate, 52 severe) and 24 control subjects (apnea/hypopnea index, AHI <5) were enrolled. PVDs and MVDs in the superficial and choroidal layers were significantly different among the four groups. When participants with simple snoring/mild OSA (AHI <15) were grouped together and compared with moderate/severe OSA (AHI ≥15), PVDs were significantly lower for the latter group in the superficial layer (p = 0.0003), deep layer (p = 0.004), and choroidal layer (p = 0.003). MVDs were also lower for the moderate/severe OSA group in the superficial (p = 0.012) and choroidal layer (p = 0.004). Negative correlations were identified between AHI and PVDs in the superficial layer (ρ = -0.257, p = 0.0007), deep layer (ρ = -0.197, p = 0.0102) and choroidal layer (ρ = -0.220, p = 0.0039) and between AHI and MVDs in the superficial layer (ρ = -0.199, p = 0.0094) and choroid layer (ρ = -0.186, p = 0.0152).

Conclusion: PVDs and MVDs were significantly lower in patients with moderate/severe OSA as compared to subjects with simple snoring/mild OSA. Furthermore, decreased PVDs and MVDs significantly correlated with OSA severity.

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