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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007 Oct 1;176(7):706-12. Epub 2007 Jun 7.

Effects of continuous positive airway pressure on early signs of atherosclerosis in obstructive sleep apnea.

Author information

  • 1Hypertension Unit, Heart Institute (InCor), University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, Brazil. luciano.drager@incor.usp.br

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes, including myocardial infarction and stroke. Atherosclerosis is a key mechanism for these cardiovascular events. Recent cross-sectional studies showed the presence of early signs of atherosclerosis in patients with OSA who were free of comorbidities.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the impact of treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on atherosclerosis.

METHODS:

We randomly assigned 24 patients with severe OSA (age, 46 +/- 6 yr) who were free of comorbidities to receive no treatment (control, n = 12) or CPAP (n = 12) for 4 months. Carotid intima-media thickness, arterial stiffness (evaluated by pulse-wave velocity), carotid diameter, 24-hour blood pressure monitoring, C-reactive protein, and catecholamines were determined at baseline and after 4 months.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

At baseline, all measurements were similar in both groups and did not change in the control group after 4 months. In contrast, a significant decrease occurred in carotid intima-media thickness (707 +/- 105 vs. 645 +/- 95 microm, P = 0.04), pulse-wave velocity (10.4 +/- 1.0 vs. 9.3 +/- 0.9 m/s, P < 0.001), C-reactive protein (3.7 +/- 1.8 vs. 2.0 +/- 1.2 mg/L, P = 0.001), and catecholamines (365 +/- 125 vs. 205 +/- 51 ng/ml, P < 0.001) after 4 months of CPAP. Carotid diameter did not change significantly. Regarding the whole group, changes in carotid intima-media thickness were correlated with changes in catecholamines (r = 0.41, P < 0.05). Changes in pulse-wave velocity were correlated with changes in C-reactive protein (r = 0.58, P < 0.01) and catecholamines (r = 0.54, P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

The treatment of OSA significantly improves early signs of atherosclerosis, supporting the concept that OSA is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00400543).

PMID:
17556718
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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