Aims: The aims of this study were to examine the circadian variation in blood pressure (BP) in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and to compare this between normotensive and hypertensive subjects.
Methods: We measured 24-hour ambulatory BP (ABP) in 72 men (mean age 51 +/- 8 years), with OSA diagnosed on overnight sleep study. Measurements of BP were made at 15 min intervals for 24 h using either an Oxford Medilog ABP or Spacelabs 90207 recorder. All recordings were performed after > or = 3 week washout of anti-hypertensive drugs. The day-time monitoring period was defined as 07:00 hrs to 22:00 and night-time 22:00 to 07:00. The ratio of night:day systolic and diastolic BP was calculated.
Results: The patients were obese (mean body mass index 33 +/- 5 kg/m2) with a central pattern of obesity (waist:hip ratio 0.99 +/- 0.14, normal < 0.94). The mean 24-h ABP (systolic/diastolic) was 138 +/- 18/88 +/- 12 mmHg. The mean daytime ABP was 143 +/- 18/93 +/- 12 and night-time ABP 128 +/- 20/80 +/- 12 Hg. The night:day BP ratio was 0.90 +/- 0.07 (systolic) and 0.87 +/- 0.09 (diastolic) indicating that average BP was lower during the night. This pattern was similar in normotensive and hypertensive subjects. In contrast there was a significant relationship between increasing BMI and night:day blood pressure ratio (r = 0.56, p < 0.001) independent of the effects of OSA.
Conclusion: In contrast to previous studies, men with OSA have a normal diurnal pattern of blood pressure levels. These findings suggest that any influence of OSA on BP is manifested throughout the 24-h period.