Eight Hours of Nightly Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Improves Glucose Metabolism in Patients with Prediabetes. A Randomized Controlled Trial

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2015 Jul 1;192(1):96-105. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201408-1564OC.


Rationale: Although obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes, it remains unclear whether OSA treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has metabolic benefits.

Objectives: To determine the effect of 8-hour nightly CPAP treatment on glucose metabolism in individuals with prediabetes and OSA.

Methods: In a randomized controlled parallel group study, 39 participants were randomly assigned to receive either 8-hour nightly CPAP (n = 26) or oral placebo (n = 13). Sleep was polysomnographically recorded in the laboratory on each night. CPAP adherence was ensured by continuous supervision. Participants continued their daily routine activities outside the laboratory. Glucose metabolism was assessed at baseline and after 2 weeks of assigned treatment using both the oral and intravenous glucose tolerance tests. The primary outcome was the overall glucose response as quantified by the area under the curve for glucose during 2-hour oral glucose tolerance testing. Secondary outcomes included fasting and 2-hour glucose and insulin, the area under the curves for insulin and insulin secretion, norepinephrine, insulin sensitivity, acute insulin response to glucose, and 24-hour blood pressure.

Measurements and main results: The overall glucose response was reduced (treatment difference: -1,276.9 [mg/dl] · min [95% confidence interval, -2,392.4 to -161.5]; P = 0.03) and insulin sensitivity was improved (treatment difference: 0.77 [mU/L](-1) · min(-1) [95% confidence interval, 0.03-1.52]; P = 0.04) with CPAP as compared with placebo. Additionally, norepinephrine levels and 24-hour blood pressure were reduced with CPAP as compared with placebo.

Conclusions: In patients with prediabetes, 8-hour nightly CPAP treatment for 2 weeks improves glucose metabolism compared with placebo. Thus, CPAP treatment may be beneficial for metabolic risk reduction. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 01156116).

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01156116.

Keywords: CPAP; glucose; metabolic; norepinephrine; obstructive sleep apnea.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Prediabetic State / blood*
  • Prediabetic State / complications
  • ROC Curve
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01156116