Background-Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common condition associated with cardiovascular disease. Its potential effect on progression of subclinical atherosclerosis is not well understood. We tested the hypothesis that self-reported OSA is associated with progression of coronary artery calcium (CAC). We also evaluated whether traditional cardiovascular risk factors accounted for the association. Methods and Results-In the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) prospective cohort, we studied 2603 participants who at baseline (2002-2004) completed a sleep questionnaire and underwent coronary computed tomography (CT) and, then 8 years later (2010-2011), a repeat coronary CT. Participants were categorized by symptoms of habitual snoring or reported physician diagnosis of OSA. At baseline, 102 (3.9%) reported diagnosed OSA; 666 (25.6%) reported diagnosed habitual snoring; and 1835 (70.5%) reported neither habitual snoring nor OSA ("normal"). At baseline, CAC prevalence was highest among those with OSA but similar for those with and without habitual snoring. During 8 years of follow-up, greater progression of CAC was observed among those with OSA versus normal (mean increase of 204.2 versus 135.5 Agatston units; P=0.01), after accounting for demographics, behaviors, and body habitus. Modest attenuation was observed after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors (188.7 versus 138.8; P=0.06). CAC progression among habitual snorers was similar to that observed in the normal group. Conclusions-OSA was associated with CAC score progression after adjustment for demographics, behaviors, and body mass index. However, the association was not significant after accounting for cardiovascular risk factors, which may mediate the association between OSA and CAC.
- Coronary artery calcium
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Subclinical atherosclerosis risk factor