Impact of sleep in COPD

Chest. 2000 Feb;117(2 Suppl):48S-53S. doi: 10.1378/chest.117.2_suppl.48s.


Sleep has well-recognized effects on breathing, including changes in central respiratory control, airways resistance, and muscular contractility, which do not have an adverse effect in healthy individuals but may cause problems in patients with COPD. Sleep-related hypoxemia and hypercapnia are well recognized in COPD and are most pronounced in rapid eye movement sleep. However, sleep studies are usually only indicated in patients with COPD when there is a possibility of sleep apnea or when cor pulmonale and/or polycythemia are not explained by the awake PaO(2) level. Management options for patients with sleep-related respiratory failure include general measures such as optimizing therapy of the underlying condition; physiotherapy and prompt treatment of infective exacerbations; supplemental oxygen; pharmacologic treatments such as bronchodilators, particularly ipratropium bromide, theophylline, and almitrine; and noninvasive positive pressure ventilation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / therapeutic use
  • Almitrine / therapeutic use
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Cholinergic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / drug therapy
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / drug therapy
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology
  • Theophylline / therapeutic use
  • Ventilation-Perfusion Ratio / physiology


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Cholinergic Antagonists
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Almitrine
  • Theophylline
  • Oxygen