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Does Airway Surgery Lower Serum Lipid Levels in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patients? A Retrospective Case Review

Li Li, Xiaojun Zhan, Ningyu Wang, Jayant Marian Pinto, Xiaohui Ge, Chunyan Wang, Jun Tian, Yongxiang Wei

(Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:2651-2657

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.892230

Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is tightly linked to increased cardiovascular disease. Surgery is an important method to treat OSA, but its effect on serum lipid levels in OSA patients is unknown. We aimed to evaluate the effect of upper airway surgery on lipid profiles.
Material and Methods: We performed a retrospective review of 113 adult patients with OSA who underwent surgery (nasal or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty [UPPP]) at a major, urban, academic hospital in Beijing from 2012 to 2013 who had preoperative and postoperative serum lipid profiles.
Results: Serum TC (4.86±0.74 to 4.69±0.71) and LP(a) (median 18.50 to 10.90) all decreased significantly post-operatively (P<0.01, 0.01, respectively), with no changes in serum HDL, LDL, or TG (P>0.05, all). For UPPP patients (n=51), serum TC, HDL and LP(a) improved (P=0.01, 0.01,<0.01, respectively). For nasal patients (n=62), only the serum LP(a) decreased (P<0.01). In patients with normal serum lipids at baseline, only serum LP(a) decreased (P<0.01). In contrast, in patients with isolated hypertriglyceridemia, the serum HDL, TG and LP(a) showed significant improvements (P=0.02, 0.03, <0.01, respectively). In patients with isolated hypercholesterolemia, the serum LP(a) decreased significantly (P=0.01), with a similar trend for serum TC (P=0.06). In patients with mixed hyperlipidemia, the serum TC and LDL also decreased (P=0.02, 0.03, respectively).
Conclusions: Surgery may improve blood lipid levels in patients with OSA, especially in patients with preoperative dyslipidemia, potentially yielding a major benefit in metabolism and cardiovascular sequelae. Prospective studies should examine this potential metabolic effect of airway surgery for OSA.

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