Early cardiac abnormalities and increased C-reactive protein levels in a cohort of children with sleep disordered breathing

Maria Pia Villa, Filomena Ianniello, Giuliano Tocci, Melania Evangelisti, Silvia Miano, Andrea Ferrucci, G. Massimo Ciavarella, Massimo Volpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This study aims to evaluate left ventricular (LV) structure and function and inflammation in a paediatric population with sleep disordered breathing (SDB) and in control subjects. Methods: Forty-nine children with SDB and 21 healthy, age-matched subjects were enrolled. The diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) was confirmed by the laboratory polysomnography, showing an obstructive apnoea/hypopnoea index of more than one per hour, according to the criteria of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and modified for paediatric population. Fasting blood samples for the biochemical evaluation (including high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) were drawn in the morning, after the polysomnographic examination in all patients with SDB and in the control group. All children underwent a two-dimensional colour Doppler cardiac examination with LV mass assessment and systolic and diastolic function evaluation. Results: Higher hsCRP levels were observed in subjects with OSAS than in children with primary snoring and in controls (0.8±0.7 vs 0.3±0.1 ng/dl, p=0.001, and 0.4±0.2 ng/dl, p=0.01, respectively). The LV diastolic dysfunction was significantly more frequent in patients with severe OSAS and higher hsCRP levels than in control group. Conclusions: This study shows that OSAS in children is associated with higher LV mass, early LV diastolic dysfunction and a pro-inflammatory state (high CRP levels). These findings might help to explain the higher incidence of cardiovascular morbidity in patients with OSAS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-110
Number of pages10
JournalSleep and Breathing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • C-Reactive protein
  • Children
  • Diastolic dysfunction
  • Sleep apnoea syndrome
  • Sleep disordered breathing
  • Systemic inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Clinical Neurology


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