Thyroid Hormone Levels and TSH Activity in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 878)


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is characterized by complete cessation of inspiratory flow (apnea) or upper airway airflow limitation (hypopnea) with increased respiratory muscle activity, which is repeatedly observed during sleep. Hypothyroidism has been described as a rare cause of OSAS, but it is considered to be the main cause of breathing disorders during sleep in patients in whom an improvement of OSAS is observed after thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Nevertheless, euthyreosis due to thyroxine replacement in patients with OSAS often does not improve the breathing disorder and treatment with continuous positive airway pressure is usually applied. The aim of this study was to assess thyroid function in patients with OSAS. We studied 813 patients in whom severe OSAS was diagnosed; the mean apnea-hypopnea index was 44.0. Most of the patients were obese (mean BMI 33.1 ± 6.6 kg/m2) and had excessive daytime sleepiness (ESS 12.8 ± 6.6). With the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration as the major criterion, hypothyroidism was diagnosed in 38 (4.7 %) and hyperthyroidism was diagnosed in 31 (3.8 %) patients. Analysis of basic anthropometric data, selected polysomnography results, and TSH, fT3, and fT4 values did not reveal any significant correlations. In conclusion, the incidence of thyroid function disorders seems to be no different in OSAS than that in the general population. We did not find correlations between TSH activity and the severity of breathing disorders during sleep.


fT3 fT4 Hyperthyroidism Hypothyroidism OSAS TSH 


Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine, Pneumology and AllergologyMedical University of WarsawWarsawPoland

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