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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1994 Oct;77(4):1602-8.

Decrease in ventricular stroke volume at apnea termination is independent of oxygen desaturation.

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Charles A. Dana Institute, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.


Patients with obstructive sleep apnea experience nocturnal hemodynamic oscillations in association with repetitive respiratory events. Apnea termination (recovery) is accompanied by the nadir of arterial O2 saturation (SaO2), changes in intrathoracic pressure, and arousal from sleep. To investigate separately the contributions of hypoxemia and of arousal from sleep to changes in cardiac function, we continuously measured left ventricular stroke volume (LVSV) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) in eight subjects with severe obstructive sleep apnea (apnea-hypopnea index > 30 events/h associated with SaO2 < or = 82%) during two experimental conditions: 1) subjects slept without intervention for 1-2 h and then supplemental O2 was administered to maintain SaO2 > or = 90% (mean SaO2 nadir 92.7%) throughout the apnea-recovery cycle and 2) upper airway obstructions were abolished using nasal continuous positive airway pressure and subjects were aroused from sleep by an auditory signal. Recovery was associated with an increase in MAP and a decrease in LVSV both with and without supplemental O2. Arousal from sleep on nasal continuous positive airway pressure reproduced the postapneic elevation of MAP but not a decrease in cardiac function of the magnitude that occurred at apnea termination. We conclude that elevation of blood pressure and reduction of LVSV that occurred at apnea termination may be due to different physiological mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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