There is evidence that cardiometabolic disease associated with obesity and sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in adults is present in youth. SDB is often treated with positive airway pressure (PAP) in youth with obesity. Our aims were to determine: (1) the prevalence of cardiometabolic disease and (2) whether PAP improves markers of cardiometabolic disease, in youth with obesity and newly diagnosed moderate-severe SDB.
A prospective multicenter cohort study was conducted in youth (8 to 16 years old) with obesity, prescribed PAP therapy for newly diagnosed moderate-severe SDB. Assessments occurred at baseline and at 6 and 12 months. Outcomes included markers of insulin resistance (change in homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) at 6 months = primary outcome), hypertension (24-hour ambulatory/blood pressure) and inflammation (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein: hs-CRP).
Twenty-seven participants were enrolled. Of those with baseline testing available, 10/25 (40%) had HOMA-IR above the 97th percentile, 10/23 (44%) were hypertensive, 16/23 (70%) had loss of nocturnal blood pressure dip and hs-CRP was elevated in 16/27 (64%). There were no significant changes over time in markers of metabolic dysfunction or blood pressure, nor between PAP-adherent and non-adherent subgroups.
In youth with obesity and SDB, metabolic dysfunction and hypertension were highly prevalent. There were no statistically significant improvements in cardiometabolic markers 1 year after the prescription of PAP therapy, although clinically relevant improvements were seen in insulin resistance and systolic blood pressure load, important predictors of future risk of cardiovascular disease. Larger, longer-term studies are needed to determine whether PAP improves cardiometabolic outcomes in obese youth.
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute