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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1993 Mar;74(3):1123-30.

Arterial blood pressure responses to graded transient arousal from sleep in normal humans.

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Osler Chest Unit, Churchill Hospital, Headington, Oxford, United Kingdom.


During obstructive sleep apnea, transient arousal at the resumption of breathing is coincident with a substantial rise in blood pressure. To assess the hemodynamic effect of arousal alone, 149 transient stimuli were administered to five normal subjects. Two electroencephalograms (EEG), an electrooculogram, a submental electromyogram (EMG), and beat-to-beat blood pressure (Finapres, Ohmeda) were recorded in all subjects. Stimulus length was varied to produce a range of cortical EEG arousals that were graded as follows: 0, no increase in high-frequency EEG or EMG; 1, increased high-frequency EEG and/or EMG for < 10 s; 2, increased high-frequency EEG and/or EMG for > 10 s. Overall, compared with control values, average systolic pressure rose [nonrapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep 10.0 +/- 7.69 (SD) mmHg; rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep 6.0 +/- 6.73 mmHg] and average diastolic pressure rose (NREM sleep 6.1 +/- 4.43 mmHg; REM sleep 3.7 +/- 3.02 mmHg) over the 10 s following the stimulus (NREM sleep, P < 0.0001; REM sleep, P < 0.002). During NREM sleep, there was a trend toward larger blood pressure rises at larger grades of arousal (systolic: r = 0.22, 95% confidence interval 0.02-0.40; diastolic: r = 0.48, 95% confidence interval 0.31-0.62). The average blood pressure rise in response to the grade 2 arousals was approximately 75% of that during obstructive sleep apnea. Arousal stimuli that did not cause EEG arousal still produced a blood pressure rise (mean systolic rise 8.6 +/- 7.0 mmHg, P < 0.0001).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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