How does continuous airway positive pressure (CPAP) therapy for sleep apnea affect blood pressure (BP)?

Updated: Feb 22, 2019
  • Author: Matthew R Alexander, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Answer

Although treatment of sleep apnea with continuous airway positive pressure (CPAP) would logically seem to improve CV outcomes and hypertension, studies evaluating this mode of therapy have been disappointing. A 2016 review of several studies indicated that CPAP either had no effect or a modest BP-lowering effect. [31] Findings from the SAVE study showed no effect of CPAP therapy on BP above usual care. [32] It is likely that patients with sleep apnea have other etiologies of hypertension, including obesity, hyperaldosteronism, increased sympathetic drive, and activation of the renin/angiotensin system that contribute to their hypertension. Although CPAP remains an effective therapy for other aspects of sleep apnea, it should not be expected to normalize BP in the majority of patients.


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