The potential link between obstructive sleep apnea and postoperative neurocognitive disorders: current knowledge and possible mechanisms.

Abstract

Purpose

This narrative review examines the current evidence on whether obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with postoperative delirium (POD) and postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD). The mechanisms that could predispose OSA patients to these disorders are also explored.

Source

Relevant literature was identified by searching for pertinent terms in Medline®, Pubmed, ScopusTM, and Google scholar databases. Case reports, abstracts, review articles, original research articles, and meta-analyses were reviewed. The bibliographies of retrieved sources were also searched to identify relevant papers.

Principal findings

Seven studies have investigated the association between OSA and POD, with mixed results. No studies have examined the potential link between OSA and POCD. If these relationships exist, they could be mediated by several mechanisms, including increased neuroinflammation, blood-brain barrier breakdown, cerebrovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease neuropathology, disrupted cerebral autoregulation, sleep disruption, sympathovagal imbalance, and/or disrupted brain bioenergetics.

Conclusion

There is very limited evidence that OSA plays a role in postoperative neurocognitive disorders because few studies have been conducted in the perioperative setting. Additional perioperative prospective observational cohort studies and randomized controlled trials of sleep apnea treatment are needed. These investigations should also assess potential underlying mechanisms that could predispose patients with OSA to postoperative neurocognitive disorders. This review highlights the need for more research to improve postoperative neurocognitive outcomes for patients with OSA.

Department

Description

Provenance

Citation

Published Version (Please cite this version)

10.1007/s12630-022-02302-4

Publication Info

Devinney, Michael J, Keith W VanDusen, Jad M Kfouri, Pallavi Avasarala, Andrew R Spector, Joseph P Mathew and Miles Berger (2022). The potential link between obstructive sleep apnea and postoperative neurocognitive disorders: current knowledge and possible mechanisms. Canadian journal of anaesthesia = Journal canadien d'anesthesie. 10.1007/s12630-022-02302-4 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25674.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.

Scholars@Duke

Devinney

Michael Devinney

Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

My work uses translational neuroscience approaches, such as cerebrospinal fluid molecular assays, sleep EEG, cognitive testing, and delirium assessment to identify mechanisms of delirium. Delirium is a syndrome of disrupted attention and consciousness that occurs in ~20% of the >19 million older surgery patients and ~50% of the >5 million intensive care unit (ICU) patients in the United States every year. Delirium is also associated with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD), yet there are no FDA-approved drugs to prevent it, due to a major gap in our understanding of its underlying mechanisms.  Our current work aims to discover potential mechanisms of delirium that could be targeted in future studies. We have recently found that increased blood-brain barrier dysfunction is associated with postoperative delirium, but it is unknown what inflammatory mediators actually cross the disrupted blood-brain barrier to drive delirium. Using mass spectrometry proteomics, we are examining the relationship of proteins and inflammatory markers found in the cerebrospinal fluid 24-hours following surgery with postoperative delirium. We are also interested in strategies that potentially protect the blood-brain barrier following surgery. Since sleep disruptions can cause blood-brain barrier dysfunction, we are conducting a study to determine the efficacy of suvorexant to improve postoperative sleep and reduce delirium severity in older surgical patients. Finally, we are working to extend these investigations to ICU patients, who are often more severely affected by delirium and more frequently develop long-term sequelae such as post-ICU long-term cognitive impairment (that is similar in magnitude to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias).

Spector

Andrew Spector

Associate Professor of Neurology

@AndrewSpectorMD

Mathew

Joseph P. Mathew

Jerry Reves, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Cardiac Anesthesiology

Current research interests include:
1. The relationship between white matter patency, functional connectivity (fMRI) and neurocognitive function following cardiac surgery.
2. The relationship between global and regional cortical beta-amyloid deposition and postoperative cognitive decline.
3. The effect of lidocaine infusion upon neurocognitive function following cardiac surgery.
4. The association between genotype and outcome after cardiac surgery.
5. Atrial fibrillation following cardiopulmonary bypass.

Berger

Miles Berger

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology

My research team focuses on 3 areas:

1) We are interested in the mechanisms of postoperative neurocognitive disorders such as delirium, and the relationship between these disorders and Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD). Towards these ends, we use a combination of methods including pre and postoperative CSF and blood sampling, functional neuroimaging, EEG recordings, rigorous biochemical assays, and cognitive testing and delirium screening. In the long run, this work has the potential to help us improve long term neurocognitive outcomes for the more than 20 million Americans over age 60 who undergo anesthesia and surgery each year.

2) We are interested in the idea that altered anesthetic-induced brain EEG waveforms can serve as indicators of specific types of preclinical/prodromal neurodegenerative disease pathology, specific cognitive domain deficits, and postoperative delirium risk. We are studying this topic in the ALADDIN study, a 250 patient prospective cohort study in older surgical patients at Duke. Many people have viewed anesthesia and surgery as a "stress test" for the aging brain; we hope that this work will help us learn how to develop a real-time EEG readout of this "perioperative stress test" for the aging brain, just as ECG analysis can provide a real-time readout of cardiac treadmill stress tests. 

3) We are interested in how the APOE4 allele damages brain circuitry throughout the adult lifespan, and how this contributes to increased risk of late onset Alzheimer's disease as well as worse outcomes following other acute brain disorders such as stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In particular, we are investigating the hypothesis that the APOE4 allele leads to increased CNS complement activation throughout adult life, which then contributes to increased synaptic phagocytosis and long term neurocognitive decline. We are also studying whether acutely modulating APOE signaling in older surgical patients with the APOE mimetic peptide CN-105 is sufficient to block postoperative CSF neuroinflammation and complement activation. 

Our work is transdisciplinary, and thus our team includes individuals with diverse scientific and clinical backgrounds, ranging from neuropsychology and neuroimaging to proteomics, flow cytometry and behavioral neuroscience in animal models. What unites us is the desire to better understand mechanisms of age-dependent brain dysfunction, both in the perioperative setting and in APOE4 carriers. 


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