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J Korean Med Sci. 2001 Dec;16(6):707-11.

Degree of arousal is most correlated with blood pressure reactivity during sleep in obstructive sleep apnea.

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Yong-In Mental Hospital, Korea.


We investigated blood pressure (BP) reactivity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. The influences on BP reactivity of degree of arousal, the lowest O2 saturation (SaO2), and respiratory disturbance (RD) duration were compared. Ten normotensive or borderline hypertensive patients with OSA were studied with one-night polysomnography including non-invasive beat-to-beat BP monitoring (Finapres). We compared baseline BP, pre-apneic BP, and post-apneic BP during both REM and NREM sleep. Also, relationships between delta BP (post-apneic BP minus pre-apneic BP) and degree of arousal, the lowest SaO2, and RD duration were examined. During both REM and NREM sleep, pre-apneic BP was elevated compared with baseline BP. Post-apneic BP elevation was noted compared with pre-apneic BP. The degree of arousal was more significantly correlated with delta BP than the lowest SaO2. RD duration was hardly correlated with delta BP. Pre-apneic BP elevation seems to result from cumulation of sympathetic activation and sympathetic nervous system resetting. The correlation between delta BP and degree of arousal suggests that sympathetic activation causing post-apneic BP elevation may result mainly from an arousal response regardless of hypoxia.

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