OSA treatment reduces office blood pressure

Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can reduce blood pressure in men with hypertension, a clinical practice study has shown.

"This study extends the known efficacy to real-world effectiveness of OSA management on hypertension," Bharati Prasad (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA) and colleagues write in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Prasad also points out in a press statement that "all types of patients may benefit from this treatment, even those with other chronic medical conditions. It's important to now do a prospective study enrolling different types of patients with sleep apnea."

The researchers examined changes in office blood pressure in 221 veterans with a new diagnosis of OSA and initiation of positive airway pressure treatment, either fixed continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP; 66%) or autoadjusting positive airway pressure (APAP; 34%).

Among the men, 94% had hypertension, while 40% had Type 2 diabetes. The majority (67%) had moderate-to-severe OSA, with more than 15 apnea or hypopnea episodes per hour.

At 3-6 months after starting treatment, irrespective of type, diastolic blood pressure had fallen significantly by an average 3.14 mmHg and systolic blood pressure by 7.44 mmHg. This was after accounting for demographics, body mass index, OSA severity, comorbidity, and pharmacologic treatment for hypertension and diabetes.

The benefit of OSA treatment on blood pressure was also seen 1 year later, when the average reductions in diastolic and systolic blood pressure were a significant 3.69 and 6.81 mmHg, respectively.

OSA treatment did not improve measures of diabetes control, however, with no changes seen in fasting glucose levels or glycated hemoglobin.

The researchers now call for further research to confirm their findings and "to identify traits associated with a positive therapeutic response, and to inform clinical practice."

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