High night-to-night variability in sleep apnea severity is associated with uncontrolled hypertension

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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) severity can vary markedly from night-to-night. However, the impact of night-to-night variability in OSA severity on key cardiovascular outcomes such as hypertension is unknown. Thus, the primary aim of this study is to determine the effects of night-to-night variability in OSA severity on hypertension likelihood. This study uses in-home monitoring of 15,526 adults with ~180 nights per participant with an under-mattress sleep sensor device, plus ~30 repeat blood pressure measures. OSA severity is defined from the mean estimated apnea–hypopnoea index (AHI) over the ~6-month recording period for each participant. Night-to-night variability in severity is determined from the standard deviation of the estimated AHI across recording nights. Uncontrolled hypertension is defined as mean systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg and/or mean diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mmHg. Regression analyses are performed adjusted for age, sex, and body mass index. A total of 12,287 participants (12% female) are included in the analyses. Participants in the highest night-to-night variability quartile within each OSA severity category, have a 50–70% increase in uncontrolled hypertension likelihood versus the lowest variability quartile, independent of OSA severity. This study demonstrates that high night-to-night variability in OSA severity is a predictor of uncontrolled hypertension, independent of OSA severity. These findings have important implications for the identification of which OSA patients are most at risk of cardiovascular harm.

Original languageEnglish
Article number57
Number of pages8
Journalnpj Digital Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2023


  • Diagnosis
  • Diagnostic markers
  • Epidemiology


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