Impact of sleep disordered breathing on carotid body size

Brian T. Welch, Humphrey G. Petersen-Jones, Andy R. Eugene, Waleed Brinjikji, David F. Kallmes, Timothy B. Curry, Michael J. Joyner, Jacqueline K. Limberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We tested the hypotheses that: (1) carotid body size can be measured by computed tomographic angiography (CTA) with high inter-observer agreement, and (2) patients with sleep apnea exhibit larger carotid bodies than those without sleep apnea. A chart review was conducted from patients who underwent neck CTA and polysomnography at the Mayo Clinic between January 2000 and February 2015. Widest axial measurements of the carotid bodies, performed independently by two radiologists, were possible in 81% of patients. Intra-class correlation coefficients ranged from 0.93 to 0.95 (Right carotid body: 0.93; Left: 0.94; Average: 0.95). Widest axial measurements of the carotid bodies were greater in patients with sleep apnea (n = 32) compared to controls (n = 46, P-value range 0.02–0.04). After adjusting for age, no differences in carotid body size were observed between the patient groups (P-value range 0.45–0.59). We conclude carotid body size can be detected by CTA with high inter-observer agreement; however, carotid body size is not increased in patients with sleep apnea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-10
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Angiography
  • Apnea hypopnea index
  • Computed tomography
  • Hypoxemia
  • Sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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