Liver disease may be a possible side effect of severe obstructivesleep apnea (OSA), even without the obesity factor. Thestudy included 163 patients referred to the Sleep Unit at HospitalSaint-Antoine in Paris with suspected OSA. The results of thestudy showed that 44% of the participants had severe OSA, 84%had moderate OSA, and 35% had no evidence of OSA.
As for liver damage, tests indicated abnormal results in 32% ofthe severe OSA group, 18% in the moderate OSA group, and8.6% in the group without OSA. Further investigation revealedthat severe OSA predicted abnormal tests, regardless of the participant'sweight. Biopsies confirmed the presence of liver diseasein a greater percentage of participants with severe OSA,compared with other groups.
Reporting in Hepatology (June 2005), the researchers suggestedinsulin resistance related to OSA, as well as direct lack ofoxygen to the liver, as a possible reason for liver damage associatedwith OSA. They recommended testing for OSA in patientswith liver disease that cannot be associated with another cause.