Cardiovascular autonomic function in normotensive awake patients with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome was studied in 21 normotensive (mean age 48 ± 14 years), drug-free men with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. Cardiovascular reflex tests with continuous blood pressure monitoring and biochemical indices were performed the morning after a standard polygraphic sleep recording. A group of 20 agematched (mean age 49 ± 19 years) normal subjects was used as controls. The obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome patients showed higher heart rate and noradrenaline plasma levels (p <0.05) at rest and a higher blood pressure response to head-up tilt (p <0.01), suggesting sympathetic overactivity. Respiratory arrhythmia, baroreflex sensitivity index and Valsalva ratio were significantly lower in the obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome group (p <0.01) whereas the decrease in heart rate induced by the cold face test was significantly higher (p <0.05) showing a blunting of reflexes dependent on baroreceptor or pulmonary afferents with normal or increased cardiac vagal efferent activity. These abnormalities in autonomic regulation may predispose obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome patients to cardiovascular complications like hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias.
- Cardiovascular reflexes
- Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome
- Sympathetic activity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology