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Weight Loss in Mildly to Moderately Obese Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: in part by Teaching Nursing Home Grant #P01AG04402-01AG from the National Institute on Aging.

This article was presented in part at the American Thoracic Society Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, Florida, in May 1984.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Philip L. Smith, M.D.; Francis Scott Key Medical Center, a Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, 4940 Eastern Avenue; Baltimore, MD 21224.

©1985 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1985;103(6_Part_1):850-855. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-103-6-850
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The therapeutic effects of weight loss were evaluated in 15 hypersomnolent patients with moderately severe obstructive sleep apnea. As patients decreased their body weight from 106.2 ± 7.3 kg (mean ± SE) to 96.6 ± 5.9 kg, apnea frequency fell from 55.0 ± 7.5 to 29.2 ± 7.1 episodes/h (p < 0.01) in non-rapid-eye-movement sleep with an associated significant decline in the mean oxyhemoglobin saturation during the remaining episodes of sleep apnea from 11.9 ± 2.4% to 7.9 ± 1.9% (p < 0.02). Sleep patterns also improved, with a reduction in stage I sleep from 40.2 ± 7.3% to 23.5 ± 4.8% (p < 0.01), and a rise in stage II sleep from 37.3 ± 7.0% to 49.4 ± 4.6% (p < 0.03). In the 9 patients with the most marked fall in apnea frequency, the tendency toward daytime hypersomnolence was decreased (p < 0.05). No significant changes in sleep patterns occurred in 8 age- and weight-matched control patients who did not lose weight. Moderate weight loss alone can alleviate sleep apnea, improve sleep architecture, and decrease daytime hypersomnolence.


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