Central sleep apnea is associated with blunted baroreflex sensitivity in patients with myocardial infarction

Alan Strassburg, Benina Majunke, Jana K. Nötges, Jasmin Ortak, Henning Kothe, Gunther Weitz, Heribert Schunkert, Hendrik Bonnemeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of central sleep apnea (CSA) and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) after acute myocardial infarction. Background: Both, CSA and blunted BRS have been shown to be independent predictors for cardiovascular mortality in patients with heart failure. But in contrast to BRS, which has been extensively studied in the setting of AMI, the incidence of CSA in patients recovering from AMI is thus far unknown. As previous reports suggested a potential role of sleep apnoea in augmenting reflex autonomic modulation, we hypothesized that there is a strong interrelation between CSA and BRS. Methods: Seventeen male patients in the subacute phase of a first uncomplicated ST-segment elevation AMI and eight healthy male controls without evidence of coronary artery disease underwent polysomnography with simultaneous beat-to-beat ECG- and blood-pressure recordings. Sleep stage specific spontaneous BRS was calculated from blood pressure and RR-interval fluctuations by using the time domain sequential technique. Results: AMI patients revealed to have a higher incidence and longer duration of central apnoeas in all sleep stages, light sleep, deep sleep and dream sleep. There were no significant sleep stage specific differences regarding BRS between groups, however, AMI patients with central sleep apnea exhibited blunted BRS which was inversely correlated to incidences of central apnea in all sleep stages. Conclusions: Our findings suggest a direct relationship between impaired BRS and repetitive occurrence of CSA by inverse correlation in all sleep stages in the subacute phase of AMI. Thus, reflex cardiac autonomic nervous control, being represented by the BRS, may be the link between CSA and prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-339
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 6 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute myocardial infarction
  • Baroreflex sensitivity
  • Central sleep apnea


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