Energy expenditure in obstructive sleep apnea: effects of treatment with continuous positive airway pressure

Am J Physiol. 1996 Dec;271(6 Pt 1):E1036-43. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1996.271.6.E1036.


We examined 24-h energy expenditure (EE) in a chamber for indirect calorimetry in five male patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and six snoring control subjects (snorers). The 24-h EE was remeasured in patients with OSA after 3-mo treatment with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Patients with OSA had a greater degree of severe sleep-breathing disturbance than snorers. Patients with OSA had higher 24-h EE [39.2 +/- 3.0 vs. 33.9 +/- 2.7 kcal.24 fat-free mass (FFM)-1, P < 0.05], daytime urinary norepinephrine and vanillylmandelic acid (VMA), and aminoterminal procollagen III peptide (PIIIp) levels, and they tended to have higher sleeping EE (32.4 +/- 4.1 vs. 26.3 +/- 1.9 kcal.24 FFM-1, P < 0.1) than snorers. CPAP treatment normalized sleep architecture and breathing. CPAP treatment also decreased sleep EE (from 32.4 +/- 4.1 to 27.2 +/- 1.4 kcal.24 FFM-1, P < 0.05) and EE variability during sleep (from 1.6 +/- 0.5 to 1.0 +/- 0.5 kcal.24 FFM-1, P < 0.05) and increased the basal metabolic rate-to-sleep EE ratio in all subjects. Serum PIIIp and plasma norepinephrine decreased after CPAP in all patients. We conclude that OSA is associated with an increased sleep EE, which is normalized by treatment with CPAP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norepinephrine / blood
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration*
  • Procollagen / blood
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / blood
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology*


  • Procollagen
  • Norepinephrine