Auditory event-related potentials in obstructive sleep apnea: effects of treatment with nasal continuous positive airway pressure

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. Sep-Oct 1991;80(5):454-7. doi: 10.1016/0168-5597(91)90094-e.


Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded in 47 patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome prior to and after 6 weeks of treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Compared with a control group, the OSA patients showed ERP abnormalities: lengthened P3 latencies and decreased N2-P3 amplitudes. After 6 weeks of CPAP treatment, there was a highly significant improvement in the abnormal ERPs: the P3 and N2 latencies were shortened, but remained longer than in controls, and the N2-P3 and N1-P2 amplitudes were increased. No correlations could be established with various sleep variables. ERPs may be used as an electrophysiological marker of brain dysfunction; treatment of OSA with CPAP is probably responsible for functional brain modifications. On the other hand, possible relationships between the ERP abnormalities and the neuropsychological disorders observed in OSA remain to be established.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration*
  • Reaction Time
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy