Study objectives: Obstructive sleep-disordered breathing is accompanied by episodic increases in left ventricle afterload due to large negative swings in intrathoracic pressure and repetitive surges in arterial pressure. Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) is released by ventricular myocytes in response to pressure and volume overload. It was hypothesized that in children with snoring, overnight change in BNP levels is correlated with severity of disturbance in respiration.
Design: Evening and morning plasma levels of BNP were measured in children with snoring referred for polysomnography.
Setting: A sleep disorders laboratory in a university hospital.
Participants: Twenty-two children with apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) ≥ 5/h (mean ± SD age, 6.4 ± 2.5 years), 60 children with AHI < 5/h (mean age, 7 ± 2.9 years), and 27 control subjects without snoring (mean age, 7.8 ± 3.7 years) were recruited.
Measurements and results: Overnight change in BNP (log-transformed ratio of morning-to-evening levels) was larger in children with AHI ≥ 5/h, compared to those with AHI < 5/h or to control subjects (0.1 ± 0.19 vs 0.01 ± 0.14 vs − 0.06 ± 0.18; p < 0.05). Children with AHI ≥ 5/h had an odds ratio of 4.33 (95% confidence interval, 1.34 to 14) for change in peptide levels > 0.15 relatively to subjects with AHI < 5/h. AHI and oxygen saturation of hemoglobin nadir were significant predictors of overnight change in peptide levels.
Conclusions: In children with snoring, overnight increase in BNP levels is correlated with severity of disturbance in respiration during sleep, which may indicate presence of nocturnal cardiac strain.