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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Jun;159(6):1766-72.

Manifestation of pulmonary hypertension during REM sleep in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

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Department of Chest Medicine, Chiba University School of Medicine, Chiba, Japan.


The effect of sleep stage change on pulmonary circulation has not been well documented in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). We investigated whether or not stage-specific change can affect pulmonary artery pressure (Ppa) in patients with OSAS. Thirty-one patients with OSAS underwent right cardiac catheterization in the daytime and the following night, including 19 patients in whom Ppa could be measured throughout non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Ten of the 19 patients had daytime pulmonary hypertension (PH) defined by a mean Ppa (Ppa) >/= 20 mm Hg. Then we analyzed Ppa response to hypoxia spontaneously occurring during the period of sleep apnea. The slopes of the regression lines between arterial oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximeter (SpO2) and Ppa curves were almost the same in both NREM and REM patient groups with or without daytime PH, whereas the response curve was significantly shifted upward in REM compared with NREM patients with daytime PH. Furthermore, Ppa was elevated more markedly in association with REM burst, phasic REM, compared with tonic REM. We conclude that vascular tone of pulmonary artery could be elevated in association with REM sleep which is independent of the degree of hypoxia, and that this state-specific change is manifested in patients with daytime PH.

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