The influence of episodic hypoxia on upper airway collapsibility in subjects with obstructive sleep apnea
We have previously shown that in subjects with obstructive sleep apnea, repetitive hypoxia is associated with long-term facilitation as manifested by decreased upper airway resistance (Rua). Our objective was to study the influence of long-term facilitation on upper airway collapsibility as measured by the critical closing pressure (Pcrit) model and to determine whether changes in Rua correlated with changes in collapsibility. We studied 13 subjects (10 men, 3 women) with a mean apnea-hypopnea index of 43.9 ± 24.0 events/h. In the first protocol with 11 subjects, we measured collapsibility using a Pcrit protocol before and after episodic hypoxia. Brief (3 min) isocapnic hypoxia (inspired O2 fraction = 8%) followed by 5 min of room air was induced 10 times. A sham study without hypoxia was performed on eight subjects. Ventilatory parameters, Rua, and Pcrit before and after episodic hypoxia were measured. At 20 min of recovery, there was no change in minute ventilation but there was a significant decrease in Rua compared with the control period (control, 8.6 ± 4.8 cmH2O·l−1·s vs. recovery, 5.9 ± 3.8 cmH2O·l−1·s; P < 0.05). However, there was no change in Pcrit between the control (2.3 ± 1.9 cmH2O) and recovery (2.7 ± 3.2 cmH2O) periods. No changes in Rua or Pcrit were observed in the sham protocol. We conclude that long-term facilitation of upper airway dilators is not associated with changes in upper airway collapsibility in subjects with obstructive sleep apnea. These results corroborate previous evidence that changes in upper airway resistance and caliber can be dissociated from changes in upper airway collapsibility.
Rowley, JA; Deebajah, I; Parikh, S; Najar, A; Saha, R; Badr, MS
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