Pharyngeal collapsibility during sleep is elevated in insulin-resistant females with morbid obesity

Oscar L. Llanos, Panagis Galiatsatos, Edmarie Guzmán-Vélez, Susheel Patil, Philip L Smith, Thomas Magnuson, Michael Schweitzer, Kimberley Steele, Vsevolod Polotsky, Alan R Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Insulin resistance is associated with sleep apnoea, leading us to hypothesise that it is also associated with elevations in pharyngeal collapsibility, even in the absence of sleep apnoea. 90 bariatric patients were characterised for sleep apnoea, pharyngeal collapsibility and insulin resistance. Patients with a respiratory disturbance index (RDI) >10 events·h-1, diabetes mellitus, tonsillar hypertrophy and pulmonary disease were excluded. The remaining 14 females underwent collapsibility measurements (passive critical pressure, Pcritp) during non-rapid eye movement sleep. The homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) index, a measure of insulin resistance, was derived from measurements of fasting glucose and insulin levels, and compared to Pcritp. Groups with high Pcritp compared to low Pcritp did not differ in age, body mass index or RDI. HOMA and insulin were elevated in the high Pcritp group compared to the low Pcritp group (p<0.02). Pcritp correlated with HOMA (Spearman's ρ=0.565, 95% CI 0.104-0.862; p=0.035) and insulin (Spearman's ρ=0.609 95% CI 0.196-0.835; p=0.021). Obese insulin-resistant subjects without frank diabetes or sleep apnoea demonstrate preclinical elevations in pharyngeal collapsibility, which may increase their susceptibility to sleep apnoea. Our findings suggest that insulin resistance could play a significant role in sleep apnoea pathogenesis by generating requisite elevations in pharyngeal collapsibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1718-1726
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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