Sleep-disordered breathing and hypotension

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Oct 1;164(7):1242-7. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.164.7.2011036.


We investigated the presence of low blood pressure (BP) in 4,409 subjects referred for overnight polysomnography. A low resting arterial BP (systolic BP < 105 mm Hg, diastolic BP < 65 mm Hg) was present in 101 subjects (2.3%). Low BP was more prevalent in subjects with upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) (23%) than in subjects with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) (0.06%), parasomnia (0.7%), restless leg syndrome (0.9%), or psychological insomnia (0.9%). In order to investigate BP homeostasis, we conducted polysomnography followed by tilt-table testing on 15 subjects with orthostatic intolerance (OI) and UARS, five normotensive subjects with UARS, five subjects with insomnia and low BP, 15 subjects with OSAS, and 15 healthy control subjects. Fifteen subjects with UARS and OI and 15 healthy controls also underwent 24-h ambulatory BP monitoring. Subjects with OI and UARS had lower mean daytime systolic (119 +/- 28 mm Hg) and diastolic (75 +/- 18 mm Hg) BP than did control subjects (131 +/- 35 mm Hg and 86 +/- 19 mm Hg, respectively) (p < 0.05). During tilt-table testing, subjects with UARS and a history of OI had a greater decrease in systolic BP (27 +/- 3 mm Hg) than did control subjects (7.5 +/- 1.6 mm Hg), subjects with OSAS (6.8 +/- 1.2 mm Hg), normotensive subjects with UARS (7.2 +/- 0.84 mm Hg), or hypotensive insomniacs (7.4 +/- 1.1 mm Hg) (p < 0.01). We conclude that approximately one fifth of subjects with UARS have low BP and complain of OI. Tilt-table testing may be indicated to confirm orthostatic intolerance in subjects with UARS.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / complications*
  • Hypotension / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Tilt-Table Test