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J Hum Hypertens. 2010 Aug;24(8):532-7. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2009.96. Epub 2009 Dec 17.

Spironolactone reduces severity of obstructive sleep apnoea in patients with resistant hypertension: a preliminary report.

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, LA, USA.


Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and hyperaldosteronism are very common in subjects with resistant hypertension. We hypothesized that aldosterone-mediated chronic fluid retention may influence OSA severity in patients with resistant hypertension. We tested this in an open-label evaluation by assessing the changes in the severity of OSA in patients with resistant hypertension after treatment with spironolactone. Subjects with resistant hypertension (clinical blood pressure (BP) >or=140/90 mm Hg on >or=3 antihypertensive medications, including a thiazide diuretic and OSA (defined as an apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) >or=15) had full diagnostic, polysomnography before and 8 weeks after spironolactone (25-50 mg a day) was added to their ongoing antihypertensive therapy. In all, 12 patients (mean age 56 years and body mass index 36.8 kg m(-2)) were evaluated. After treatment with spironolactone, the AHI (39.8+/-19.5 vs 22.0+/-6.8 events/h; P<0.05) and hypoxic index (13.6+/-10.8 vs 6.7+/-6.6 events/h; P<0.05), weight and clinic and ambulatory BP were significantly reduced. Plasma renin activity (PRA) and serum creatinine were significantly higher. This study provides preliminary evidence that treatment with a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist substantially reduces the severity of OSA. If confirmed in a randomized assessment, it will support aldosterone-mediated chronic fluid retention as an important mediator of OSA severity in patients with resistant hypertension.

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