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Clin Interv Aging. 2015 Aug 19;10:1361-6. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S84199. eCollection 2015.

Sex differences of continuous positive airway pressure treatment on flow-mediated dilation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

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Sleep Disorders Unit, Department of Clinical Therapeutics, "Alexandra" General Hospital, Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece.
Sleep Disorders Unit, Pulmonary Department, 401 General Army Hospital, Athens, Greece.
Pulmonary Department, 251 Hellenic Air Force General Hospital, Athens, Greece.
Sleep Disorders Unit, "Sotiria" Regional Chest Diseases Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece.
Pulmonary Department - Oncology Unit, George Papanikolaou General Hospital of Thessaloniki, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.



There is growing research evidence suggesting the presence of endothelial dysfunction and systemic inflammation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most effective method for treating OSAS; nonetheless, the effects of CPAP on the aforementioned pathophysiologic pathways as well as on the systemic disease that result or coexist with the OSAS remain elusive.


To assess the effect of 3-month CPAP therapy on endothelial-dependent dilation, plasma levels of inflammatory markers, blood pressure (BP), and glucose control on male and female patients with OSAS.


Our study group consisted of 40 (24 males and 16 females) patients with no prior history of cardiovascular disease, with an apnea-hypopnea index ≥15, who were assigned to receive CPAP treatment. Measurements of flow-mediated dilation (FMD), 24-hour ambulatory BP, and blood analysis were performed at baseline and 3 months after CPAP therapy.


Baseline FMD values were negatively correlated with the apnea-hypopnea index (r=-0.55, P=0.001). After 3 months of CPAP, there was an increase in the FMD values (5.40%±2.91% vs 3.13%±3.15%, P<0.05) and a significant reduction in the patients' 24-hour systolic BP (122.82±11.88 mmHg vs 130.24±16.75 mmHg, P<0.05), diastolic BP (75.44±9.14 mmHg vs 79.68±11.09 mmHg, P<0.05), and pulse pressure (47.38±9.77 mmHg vs 52.72±11.38 mmHg, P<0.05); daytime systolic BP (125.76±12.69 mmHg vs 132.55±17.00 mmHg, P<0.05) and diastolic BP (77.88±10.39 mmHg vs 82.25±11.01 mmHg, P<0.05); nighttime systolic BP (118.17±13.16 mmHg vs 126.22±17.42 mmHg, P<0.05) and pulse pressure (46.61±10.76 mmHg vs 52.66±11.86 mmHg, P<0.05); and C-reactive protein and HbA1c levels (0.40 [0.40-0.70] mg/L vs 0.60 [0.40-0.84] mg/L and 5.45%±0.70% vs 5.95%±1.08%, respectively; P<0.05). When divided by sex, only male patients produced similar statistically significant results, while female patients failed to show such associations.


Our results suggest that CPAP therapy improves the endothelial function, the BP, and the glucose control in male patients with OSAS. Further research is warranted in order to verify these results and to further elucidate the impact of CPAP on the cardiovascular risk of male and female patients with OSAS.


CPAP; CRP; blood pressure; glucose control; obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

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