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Biomarkers of Sleep ApneaBiomarkers of Sleep Apnea

Sydney B. Montesi, MD; Ednan K. Bajwa, MD, MPH; Atul Malhotra, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (Drs Montesi and Bajwa), Massachusetts General Hospital, and Department of Sleep Medicine (Dr Malhotra), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA.

Correspondence to: Sydney B. Montesi, MD, Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Bulfinch 148, 55 Fruit St, Boston, MA 02114; e-mail: sbmontesi@partners.org

Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The authors have reported to CHEST the following conflicts of interest: Dr Malhotra received research and consulting income from Philips Respironics; Apnex Medical, Inc; Apnicure, Inc; Galleon Pharmaceuticals, Inc; Pfizer, Inc; Merck & Co, Inc; Cephalon, Inc; Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc; Ethicon, Inc; Medtronic, Inc; Sleep Group Solutions, Inc; and Sleep HealthCenters. Drs Montesi and Bajwa have reported that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Funding/Support: Dr Bajwa is funded by National Institutes of Health [Grant K23 HL087934]. Dr Malhotra is funded by National Institutes of Health [Grants R01 AG035117, P01 HL095491, K24 HL093218, R01 HL090897, and R01 HL085188] and American Heart Association [Grant 0840159N].


Funding/Support: Dr Bajwa is funded by National Institutes of Health [Grant K23 HL087934]. Dr Malhotra is funded by National Institutes of Health [Grants R01 AG035117, P01 HL095491, K24 HL093218, R01 HL090897, and R01 HL085188] and American Heart Association [Grant 0840159N].

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2012;142(1):239-245. doi:10.1378/chest.11-2322
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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition of repetitive upper airway collapse, which occurs during sleep. Recent literature has emphasized the role of OSA in contributing to glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. OSA is associated with the development of cardiovascular disease, although definitive data are sparse with regard to the prevention of cardiovascular disease and CPAP therapy. CPAP provides effective treatment for OSA, but patient adherence remains challenging. Aside from daytime symptom improvement, it is difficult to monitor the adequacy of treatment response. Thus, the search for a biomarker becomes critical. The discovery of an ideal biomarker for OSA has the potential to provide information related to diagnosis, severity, prognosis, and response to treatment. In addition, because large-scale randomized controlled trials are both ethically and logistically challenging in assessing hard cardiovascular outcomes, certain biomarkers may be reasonable surrogate outcome measures. This article reviews the literature related to potential biomarkers of OSA with the recognition that an ideal biomarker does not exist at this time.


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