Objectives: To evaluate the potential benefit of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) administration in pregnant women recognized to have hypertension early in pregnancy.
Methods: This is a randomized study comparing the addition of nasal CPAP treatment to standard prenatal care to standard prenatal care alone in hypertensive women treated with alpha-methyl dopa during early pregnancy. Pregnant women with hypertension were recruited by their obstetricians and completed baseline sleep questionnaires and visual analogue scales on snoring and sleepiness. Subjects were then randomized to receive either CPAP with standard prenatal care (treatment group) or standard prenatal care alone (control group) with routine obstetric follow-up. Nocturnal polysomnography was performed in all patients randomized to the treatment group for initial CPAP titration. Periodic assessment of blood pressure control and CPAP compliance was performed by the same specialist at each scheduled follow-up visit.
Results: In the control group (n=9), a progressive rise in blood pressure with a corresponding increase in alpha-methyl dopa doses was observed, beginning at the sixth month of pregnancy. There was also an increase in the number of non-scheduled post-natal visits during the first postpartum month. Pre-eclampsia occurred in one subject; the remaining eight patients had normal pregnancies and infant deliveries. In the treatment group (n=7), blood pressure was noted to decrease significantly as compared to the control group with associated decreases in doses of antihypertensive medications at six months of gestation. All treated patients experienced uncomplicated pregnancies and delivered infants with higher APGAR scores at one minute post-delivery compared to those of controls.
Conclusion: In pregnant women with hypertension and chronic snoring, nasal CPAP use during the first eight weeks of pregnancy combined with standard prenatal care is associated with better blood pressure control and improved pregnancy outcomes.