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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2002 Nov 1;166(9):1225-34.

Evidence of a sleep-specific blunted cortical response to inspiratory occlusions in mild obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Australia.


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) patients have elevated non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep arousal thresholds to inspiratory loading. To test the hypothesis that this is due to sleep-specific dampening of cortical responses to inspiratory effort, respiratory-related evoked potentials (RREPs) were evaluated in six mild OSAS patients and six age- and body mass index-matched controls during wakefulness and Stage 2 non-REM sleep. Electroencephalogram was recorded from six scalp sites (Fz, FCz, Cz, CPz, Pz, and O(2)). Electrooculogram, electromyogram, and mask pressure signals were also recorded. During sleep, pharyngeal pressure was recorded using a Millar pressure catheter placed 2 cm below the glottis. The RREP waveform was broadly similar in the two groups during wakefulness, but was markedly different during Stage 2 non-REM sleep. During wakefulness, only the N1 component showed reduced amplitude in the OSAS group. During sleep, the occlusion stimulus elicited fewer K-complexes in the OSAS patients. In addition, the N550 component in the average of K-complex responses was smaller in amplitude in the OSAS group. The data suggest that patients with mild OSAS have a "blunted" response to the respiratory occlusion stimulus. This appears not to be related to compromised mechanoreceptor function, as the RREP was normal in the patients when they were awake.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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