Pulmonary hypertension and hypoxemia in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1994 Feb;149(2 Pt 1):416-22. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.149.2.8306039.


To determine whether pulmonary hypertension (PH) can occur in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in the absence of lung or primary cardiac disease, we studied 27 patients (26 males, mean age 49 +/- 10 yr) with OSAS (respiratory disturbance index [RDI] > 10 events/h) in whom clinically significant lung or cardiac diseases were excluded. Pulsed Doppler measurements of pulmonary hemodynamics, pulmonary function tests, arterial blood gas analysis, and polysomnography were performed. A total of 11 OSAS patients (41%) were found to have pulmonary hypertension. The levels of PH were relatively mild (Ppa < or = 26 mm Hg). There were no differences between PH and non-PH patients in body mass index (BMI), smoking history, or lung function. PH patients were more hypoxemic when awake than non-PH patients (PaO2 = 72.2 +/- 7.6 versus 77.6 +/- 7.3 mm Hg, respectively; p < 0.05) but did not differ in severity of sleep apnea (RDI = 51.9 +/- 25.1 versus 56.8 +/- 26.2 events/h, respectively; p = NS) or indices of sleep desaturation. The hypoxemia in PH patients could not be explained by impairment of lung function, greater body mass, or a higher prevalence of smoking, and PaO2 in the study population was significantly correlated with Ppa (r = -0.46, p < 0.02) but not with FEV1 or BMI. We conclude that lung disease is not a prerequisite for PH in OSAS.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Hypoxia / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Pulmonary Circulation / physiology*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications*