Sleep-related oxygen desaturation and daytime pulmonary haemodynamics in COPD patients

P. Levi-Valensi, E. Weitzenblum, Z. Rida, P. Aubry, A. Braghiroli, C. Donner, M. Aprill, J. Zielinski, G. Wurtemberger

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It has been hypothesized that in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep-related hypoxaemia could lead to pulmonary hypertension (PH) and cor pulmonale, eveni in patients with only mild daytime hypoxaemia. We investigated the relationships between sleep variables and daytime pulmonary haemodynamics in 40 COPD patients with daytime arterial oxygen tension (PaO2) between 60-70 mmHg (8-9.3 kPa). Patients were considered as desaturators if they spent at least 30% of the sleep recording time with a transcutaneous O2 saturation (StcO2) 2, measured just prior to the onset of sleep, was lower in group D. Pulmonary artery mean pressure was significantly higher in group D (19.1 ± 4.7 vs 16.8 ± 1.9 mmHg, p <0.05) and all patients with PH (6 out of 40) belonged to group D. PH was observed in 6 of the 15 patients whose mean nocturnal StcO2 was 2 >90%. The PH patients (n=6), all desaturators, differed from the desaturtors with no PH (n=12), and from ND (n=22) in having higher numbers of desaturation dips, longer durations of dips, and lower mean nocturnal arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2). We conclude that a causal relation between nocturnal desaturation and permanent PH is very likely. Further studies are needed to see whether oxygen therapy can prevent PH in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-307
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • (COPD)
  • Causes of pulmonary hypertension in COPD
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Mild daytime hypoxaemia
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Sleep related hypoxaemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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