Background-The cardiovascular effects of positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients are not clear because of confounding by comorbid conditions. Methods and Results-Prospective interventional study of PAP therapy and withdrawal. Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI; events/hour of sleep) was determined from polysomnography. Central aortic blood pressures (BPs), Aortic Augmentation Index (AAIx), and central (PWVc-f) and peripheral pulse wave (PWVc-r) velocities were determined by applanation tonometry. Echocardiography and brachial artery reactivity testing were performed at baseline, after 4 and 12 weeks of PAP therapy, and 1 week after PAP withdrawal. The 84 participants were mean (SD) 41.1 (7.6) years old and had 39.8 (24.5) AHI events/hour. After 4 weeks post-PAP initiation and sustained after 12 weeks, subjects experienced decreases in central systolic BP (P=0.008), diastolic BP, mean BP, AAIx, and PWVc-r, and brachial artery dilation (all P<0.001), as well as improvements in left ventricular diastolic function and systemic and pulmonary vascular resistance. In adjusted models, PAP use (hours/night) predicted reductions in diastolic BP (β=-0.65 [SE, 0.32] mm Hg/hour; P=0.045), AAIx (β=-0.53 [0.27] %/hour; P=0.049) and PWVc-r (β=-0.13 [0.05] m·s-1/hour; P=0.007), and improved brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (β=0.31 [0.14] %/hour use; P=0.015). After 1 week of PAP withdrawal, brachial diameter, diastolic BP, mean BP, AAIx, and heart rate increased (P≤0.05). Conclusions-PAP therapy reduces arterial tone and improves endothelial and diastolic function in young to middle-aged adults. This positive effect is observed after 4 weeks and depends on hours of use, but reverts quickly with PAP withdrawal. Clinical Trial Registration-URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov/. Unique identifier: NCT01317329.
Korcarz, C. E., Benca, R., Barnet, J. H., & Stein, J. H. (2016). Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in young and middle-aged adults: Effects of positive airway pressure and compliance on arterial stiffness, endothelial function, and cardiac hemodynamics. Journal of the American Heart Association, 5(4). https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.115.002930