Blood biomarkers as a diagnostic tool for obstructive sleep apnea


Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition causing daytime tiredness which can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is a common, chronic disorder that affects thousands of patients, yet recent studies show that many sufferers remain undiagnosed.

The Dove Medical Press journal, Nature and Science of Sleep, has published a study that highlights the potential use of blood biomarkers as a diagnostic tool for obstructive sleep apnea. The article entitled Use of blood biomarkers to screen for obstructive sleep apnea demonstrates positive clinical trial results that suggest blood tests may be a useful screening tool and potentially superior to current diagnostic methods.
The study, which used male participants, found that concurrent elevations of haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythropoietin (EPO) indicated that a patient may have obstructive sleep apnea. The study demonstrated that blood biomarkers proved superior to the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and other standard screening methods currently used for diagnosis, particularly in non-obese males. These tests were shown to correlate with disease severity and may assist in triaging patients for diagnosis and treatment.

In a statement, the authors said that they anticipated that use of objective blood tests will improve screening accuracy and timely diagnosis, improve patient management, decrease the incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and decrease healthcare costs.

Professor Steven Shea, Editor-in-Chief for Nature and Science of Sleep and founder of one of the first clinical sleep laboratories in the UK commented, “Diagnosis for sleep apnea usually requires expensive overnight polysomnography. An accurate, simple, quick and cheap screening test would be ideal.” He went on to add that “Signs of sleep apnea detected from a blood sample is an important step in that direction and is particularly relevant in this cohort of non-obese men with sleep apnea.”

Notes to Editors
Nature and Science and Sleep is an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal covering all aspects of sleep science and sleep medicine. It is published by Dove Medical Press , part of the Taylor & Francis Group. Founded in 2003, Dove Medical Press specialize in the publication of open access peer-reviewed journals across the broad spectrum of science, technology and especially medicine. A full list of journals published can be found here:

Updated 18 June 2018