Long-term cardiopulmonary sequelae in patients with sleep apnea and chronic lung disease

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1987 Mar;135(3):525-33. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1987.135.3.525.


Both obstructive sleep apnea and chronic lung disease can be associated with intermittent or chronic hypoxemia leading to pulmonary hypertension and cor pulmonale. When these problems coexist, it is possible that the cardiopulmonary effects are additive. We hypothesized that hemodynamic disturbances in patients with apnea and lung disease would be more severe than in those with apnea alone, and that hemodynamic improvement should follow apnea cure, but perhaps at a slower rate than in those with apnea alone. To test these hypotheses, we prospectively followed 24 patients with sleep apnea syndrome. They were divided into 3 nonrandomized groups. Nineteen patients had both apnea and lung disease. Nine of these agreed to curative tracheostomy (Group 1). The other 10 subjects (Group 2) refused tracheostomy but accepted noncurative therapies, including nocturnal oxygen (n = 9), uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (n = 2), and protriptyline (n = 4). Five subjects with apnea but without clinically obvious lung disease received tracheostomies (Group 3). Subjects were followed at yearly intervals (mean follow-up, 27.2 months) with radionuclide motion studies and, in 15 of 24 who consented, right heart catheterization. The 3 groups did not vary with respect to age, percent ideal weight, or severity of apnea symptoms. The severity of right-sided hemodynamic dysfunction in the group with apnea but no obvious lung disease was less than that in the 2 groups with lung disease. A substantial decrease in pulmonary artery pressure (p = 0.056) and significant improvement in right ventricular ejection fraction occurred in the tracheostomized group with both apnea and lung disease. Pulmonary vascular resistance decreased in both groups receiving tracheostomy.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Coronary Circulation
  • Heart Diseases / etiology*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / complications*
  • Lung Diseases / etiology
  • Pulmonary Circulation
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Stroke Volume