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Sleep Med. 2019 May;57:36-42. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2019.01.035. Epub 2019 Feb 6.

Effect of calf muscle electrical stimulation on rostral fluid shift, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

Author information

1
KITE, Toronto Rehab - University Health Network, Toronto, Canada; Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
2
KITE, Toronto Rehab - University Health Network, Toronto, Canada; Women's College Research Institute, Women's College Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
3
Department of Nutritional Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Sinai Health System, Toronto, Canada.
4
KITE, Toronto Rehab - University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.
5
KITE, Toronto Rehab - University Health Network, Toronto, Canada; Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address: Azadeh.Yadollahi@uhn.ca.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVES:

Overnight fluid shift from the legs into the neck may contribute to the pathogenesis of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The present study investigates the effects of calf muscle electrical stimulation (ES) on reducing leg fluid accumulation while seated, subsequent rostral fluid shift on lying down, and the impact on snoring and OSA.

METHODS:

Sixteen non-obese, normotensive men with OSA participated in the study. On the first study day, participants sat for 150 min receiving either active or sham ES through random allocation, then lied supine for 60 min. While seated and supine, leg and neck fluid volumes were measured using bioelectrical impedance to determine the magnitude of fluid shift. On the night of the study day, participants wore a portable sleep apnea diagnostic device overnight to measure snoring and sleep apnea severity. One week later, participants crossed over to the other study condition.

RESULTS:

Active calf muscle ES reduced leg fluid accumulation by 46% while seated. Upon lying supine, active ES reduced fluid shift out of the legs by 17% and reduced neck fluid accumulation by 31%. This led to a 15% reduction in snoring index, but did not alleviate OSA.

CONCLUSIONS:

One session of calf muscle ES was effective at reducing leg fluid accumulation and rostral fluid shift, which led to a modest reduction in the snoring index, but not OSA. Despite this lack of effect of calf muscle ES in attenuating OSA severity, the reduction in the snoring index suggests that it did have an effect, albeit mild, on upper-airway mechanics.

KEYWORDS:

Calf muscle electrical stimulation; Fluid shift; Obstructive sleep apnea; Sedentary; Snoring

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