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Chest. 1994 Sep;106(3):767-73.

Upper airway muscle activity during REM and non-REM sleep of patients with obstructive apnea.

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First Department of Internal Medicine, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


We measured electromyograms (EMGs) of genioglossus muscle (GG) and inspiratory intercostal muscle (IIM) in both rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep of 12 patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to examine the influence of different sleep stages on upper airway muscle activity during sleep apnea. Quantifications of both muscle activities were assessed by their individual peak amplitude of integrated inspiratory EMG. Genioglossus and IIM activities showed a qualitatively similar cyclic change with an alteration of apneic and ventilatory phases during both non-REM and REM sleep. Both muscle activities increased gradually in the late apneic phase and reached each peak at the opening of the upper airway and, subsequently, decreased gradually. There were no significant differences in both muscles activities in either the ventilatory or early apneic phase between non-REM sleep and REM sleep. On the other hand, GG and IIM activities in the late apneic phase during REM sleep were significantly lower than those during non-REM sleep. The relative activity of GG to IIM in the late apneic phase was significantly lower during REM sleep than that during non-REM sleep. These results indicate that upper airway and intercostal muscle activation in the later apneic phase during REM sleep were inhibited compared with those during non-REM sleep and that this inhibition was observed predominantly in upper airway muscles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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