Title page for ETD etd-08202001-091016

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Ballentine, Howard Monroe
URN etd-08202001-091016
Title Relating Heart Rate Variability, Urinary Catecholamines, and Baseline Fitness to Respiratory Distress Index and Severity of Disease in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patients
Degree Master of Science
Department Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Herbert, William G. Committee Chair
Thye, Forrest W. Committee Member
Zedalis, Don Committee Member
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Exercise
  • Catecholamines
  • Heart Rate Variability
  • Polysomnography
Date of Defense 2001-08-17
Availability unrestricted

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) currently is utilized when assessing the risk of mortality in individuals suffering from coronary heart disease or diabetic neuropathy. Research has shown that patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) also show a decrease in HRV, as well as an increase in sympathetic drive characterized by an increase in the low-frequency component of HRV. HRV, in conjunction with other indicators, may represent a non-invasive, low cost method for the confirmation of severity of OSA in some patients and therefore may represent an additional tool for the assessment of risk in these individuals. This becomes especially true when urinary catecholamines, fitness level, and quality of life (QOL) assessment are included. The purpose of this study was to determine if a correlation exists between severity of OSA as assessed by respiratory distress index (RDI) and the selected measures HRV, fitness, QOL, and catecholamine output. Subjects were 6 men and 5 women who were recently diagnosed with OSA by polysomnographic (PSG) study. HRV and blood pressure was measured during two consecutive trials consisting of 512 heartbeats. Catecholamine levels were determined by HPLC following 24-hour urine collection. Fitness levels were established following cycle ergometer testing and QOL following questionnaire completion. Subjects with lower weight, BMI, and neck circumference had significantly higher parasympathetic influence as analyzed through the amount of high frequency component of HRV (r =.738, .726, .789, respectively; p<0.05). Respiratory distress index (RDI) was negatively related to the average heart rate (HR=RR average, r = -.610, p<0.05), while the amount of total sleep (r = .657, p<0.05) and REM sleep (r = .739, p<0.01) increased as HR increased. The average HR was correlated to the predicted VO2max (r = .677, p<0.05). When the frequency components of HRV, fitness, QOL, and catecholamines were combined, the association to RDI increased dramatically (r = .984, p = .02). The results indicate that as the severity of OSA increases, markers of fitness, QOL, and sleep decrease. There is also an inverse relationship between autonomic function and severity of OSA. It is concluded that HRV and fitness levels are inversely related to the severity of OSA, and that these measures may be developed into a risk assessment tool for use in OSA patient evaluatio

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