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Available online 15 September 2022
Hypoxic Burden in Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Present and Future
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Miguel A. Martinez-Garciaa,b,
Corresponding author
mianmartinezgarcia@gmail.com

Corresponding author.
, Manuel Sánchez-de-la-Torreb,c, David P. Whited, Ali Azarbarzind
a Respiratory Department, Hospital Universitario y Politécnico La Fe, Valencia, Spain
b Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES), Madrid, Spain
c Precision Medicine in Chronic Diseases, Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova-Santa Maria, IRB Lleida, Department of Nursing and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Nursing and Physiotherapy, University of Lleida, Lleida, Spain
d Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States
Received 15 July 2022. Accepted 12 August 2022
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Abstract

Conventional measures of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) severity, such as the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and oxygen desaturation index (ODI) are commonly used to quantify OSA severity and guide therapeutical decision-making processes. However, it is widely recognized that both AHI and ODI have important limitations and novel physiologically-informed metrics are needed to better capture the severity of OSA and characterize its physiological consequences, particularly the severity of recurrent nocturnal hypoxemia, ensuing the respiratory events. According to recent studies, the sleep apnea-specific “hypoxic burden (HB)”, defined as the sum of individual areas under the oxygen desaturation curve, has shown some promise in identifying high risk individuals with OSA. In addition to the frequency of respiratory events, HB capture the depth and duration of OSA-related hypoxemia that may prove to be important disease characterizing features, not captured by the conventional “frequency-based” metrics, such as AHI and ODI. In this “perspective” paper the methods to quantify the HB, its characteristics, associations with health outcomes, and its limitations will be discussed.

Keywords:
Hypoxic burden
Cardiovascular diseases
Stroke
Heart failure
Ischemic heart disease
Blood pressure
Mortality
Chronic kidney disease

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