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Sleep Apnea Inhibits Heart Rate Recovery After Exercise

Maximal ramping exercise testing may help identify more apnea patients

TUESDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may have attenuated heart rate recovery after exercise, researchers report in the January issue of Sleep.

Trent A. Hargens, Ph.D., of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., and colleagues studied cardiovascular responses to ramp exercise testing and post-exercise recovery in 14 overweight young men with untreated OSA, 16 overweight young men without OSA, and 14 normal-weight controls.

The researchers found that heart rate recovery was significantly attenuated in the OSA subjects compared to the non-OSA subjects and normal-weight controls. They also found that there were no significant group differences in heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption during exercise.

"Results indicate that OSA elicits unique cardiovascular responses during recovery from maximal exercise," the authors conclude. "These results suggest an imbalance in the autonomic control of heart rate during recovery, and may be an early clinical sign in the progression of OSA. These findings also suggest the potential for maximal ramping exercise testing in improving risk stratification and clinical decision making leading to patient selection for diagnostic investigation for OSA. Further clinical studies, across a wider variety of age groups, are needed to examine whether there is an age-related influence in the exercise and post-exercise responses in OSA."

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