Influence of Lower Body Positive Pressure on Upper Airway Cross-Sectional Area in Drug-Resistant Hypertension
We previously showed that in hypertensive patients the amount of fluid displaced from the legs overnight is directly related to the severity of obstructive sleep apnea and that the rostral fluid shift was greater in drug-resistant hypertensive patients. The findings suggested that this fluid redistribution increases upper airway collapsibility, yet more direct evidence is lacking. The present study examines the effects of graded lower body positive pressure on leg fluid volume, upper airway cross-sectional area, and neck circumference in patients with drug-resistant hypertension (n=25) and controlled hypertension (n=15). In both groups, the reduction in mean upper airway cross-sectional area and oropharyngeal junction area, assessed by acoustic pharyngometry, and the increase in neck circumference, determined by mercury strain gauge plethysmography, were related to the amount of fluid displaced from the legs (R2=0.41, P<0.0001; R2=0.42, P<0.0001; and R2=0.47, P<0.0001, respectively). Displacement of leg fluid volume was significantly greater in patients with drug-resistant hypertension than in controlled hypertension (P<0.0001), and as a consequence, the former experienced greater reductions in mean upper airway cross-sectional area and oropharyngeal junction area (P=0.001 and P<0.0001, respectively). The findings support the concept that in hypertensive subjects, rostral fluid displacement may participate in the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea by narrowing the upper airway and making it more susceptible to collapse during sleep. The exaggerated fluid volume displacement from the legs and upper airway response to lower body positive pressure in patients with drug-resistant hypertension provide additional evidence of an important link between drug-resistant hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea.
- drug-resistant hypertension
- obstructive sleep apnea
- volume overload
- fluid redistribution
- lower body positive pressure
- Received August 3, 2012.
- Revision received August 18, 2012.
- Accepted October 1, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.