Effects of continuous positive airway pressure on cardiovascular risk profile in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea and metabolic syndrome

Chest. 2008 Oct;134(4):686-692. doi: 10.1378/chest.08-0556. Epub 2008 Jul 14.


Background: The increased risk of atherosclerotic morbidity and mortality in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been linked to arterial hypertension, insulin resistance, systemic inflammation, and oxidative stress. We aimed to determine the effects of 8 weeks of therapy with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on glucose and lipid profile, systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, and global cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in patients with severe OSA and metabolic syndrome.

Methods: In 32 patients, serum cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fibrinogen, apolipoprotein A-I, apolipoprotein B (ApoB), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, leptin, malondialdehyde (MDA), and erythrocytic glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity were measured at baseline and after 8 weeks of CPAP. The insulin resistance index (homeostasis model assessment [HOMA-IR]) was based on the homeostasis model assessment method, the CVD risk was calculated using the multivariable risk factor algorithm.

Results: In patients who used CPAP for > or = 4 h/night (n = 16), CPAP therapy reduced systolic BP and diastolic BP (p = 0.001 and p = 0.006, respectively), total cholesterol (p = 0.002), ApoB (p = 0.009), HOMA-IR (p = 0.031), MDA (p = 0.004), and TNF-alpha (p = 0.037), and increased erythrocytic GPx activity (p = 0.015), in association with reductions in the global CVD risk (from 18.8 +/- 9.8 to 13.9 +/- 9.7%, p = 0.001). No significant changes were seen in patients who used CPAP for < 4 h/night. Mask leak was the strongest predictor of compliance with CPAP therapy.

Conclusions: In patients with severe OSA and metabolic syndrome, good compliance to CPAP may improve insulin sensitivity, reduce systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, and reduce the global CVD risk.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00635674.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Patient Compliance
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / blood*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cytokines
  • Lipids

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00635674