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Am J Hypertens. 2002 Mar;15(3):251-7.

Effect of continuous positive airway pressure therapy on 24-hour blood pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

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Department of Medicine 1, Ruhr University Bochum, Marienhospital Herne, Germany.



Patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) are subject to an increased cardiovascular morbidity including systemic hypertension. Little is known about the effects of treatment with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on systemic hypertension.


Automated ambulatory 24-h blood pressure (BP) monitoring was performed in 88 consecutive patients who were referred for evaluation of snoring or suspected OSAS. In addition, the long-term effects of CPAP therapy on 24-h BP were assessed.


A total of 62 patients had OSAS and 26 habitual snoring. Patients with OSAS had significantly higher mean arterial BP values than snorers (102.7 +/- 10.7 v 94.0 +/- 10.2 mm Hg; P < .01). Multiple stepwise linear regression analysis disclosed that the degree of systemic hypertension was independently associated with the severity of OSAS as determined by the apnea/hypopnea index (R = 0.43; P < .001), but not with age, body mass index, or smoking habits. Of the 62 patients with OSAS, 52 were treated with CPAP and reevaluated after 9 months. The CPAP resulted in a significant decrease in mean arterial BP (from 103.7 +/- 10.4 to 99.1 +/- 10.8 mm Hg; P < .05). For those patients with systemic hypertension whose BP improved with CPAP therapy, 24-h mean pulse pressure at baseline (r = -0.36; P < .05) as well as average heart rate during the day (r = -0.35; P < .05) turned out as predictors.


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome contributes, at least in part, to the development of systemic hypertension, and CPAP may improve BP values in treated OSAS patients. Predictors of a beneficial CPAP effect on BP are a high heart rate and a high pulse pressure before treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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