Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) is a sleep disorder characterised by snoring, repetitive apnoeas associated with oxygen desaturations, and sleep disruption. It has been estimated that 2-4% of the adult population in Western countries suffer from clinically significant OSAS.

OSAS has also been associated with high blood pressure, stroke and myocardial ischaemia in epidemiological and observational studies. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the treatment of choice for OSAS, but the impact of this therapy on established risk factors for cardiovascular disease is largely unknown.

In this study conducted in Oxford, UK, Malcolm Kohler (Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine) and his colleagues randomised 102 men with OSAS to CPAP or placebo CPAP treatment for four weeks in order to investigate the effects of CPAP on measures of cardiovascular risk, such as sympathetic nerve activity, arterial stiffness and blood pressure.

They found that one month of CPAP therapy reduced sympathetic nerve activity by 26%, lowered arterial stiffness by a third, and significantly decreased blood pressure when compared to placebo CPAP.

The findings of this study suggest that treatment of OSAS patients with CPAP may have a positive impact on patient's survival by effectively reducing a number of well-established risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

CPAP and measures of cardiovascular risk in males with OSAS.

About the European Respiratory Journal (ERJ)

The European Respiratory Journal
is the peer-reviewed scientific publication of the European Respiratory Society (more than 8,000 specialists in lung diseases and respiratory medicine in Europe, the United States and Australia).

European Respiratory Journal