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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been identified as the most common secondary contributing factor for the development and worsening of hypertension. However, the underlying relationships between blood pressure variability (BPV) and OSA are still not very clear. Therefore, we investigated the influences of OSA on BPV in hypertensive patients and explored the potential pathophysiologic mechanisms.Ambulatory blood pressure (BP) monitoring was carried out and polysomnography was performed to detect sleep apnea. A total of 86 hypertensive individuals were divided into patients without OSA (n=43) and patients with severe OSA (n=43). Systolic and diastolic BPV were obtained by calculating the SD, coefficient of variation, and average real variability during day-time, night-time, and over 24 h. The relationship between OSA and BPV was assessed after adjustment for potential confounding variables (age, sex, BMI, neck circumference, heart rate, and snoring history).Compared with participants without OSA, nocturnal systolic BPV and 24-h systolic BP average real variability from OSA participants were obviously increased (P<0.05), but there were no statistically significant differences in day-time and 24-h systolic BP SD and coefficient of variation (P>0.05). Compared with participants without OSA, 24-h diastolic BPV and day-time diastolic BP SD from OSA participants were markedly increased (P<0.05), but nocturnal indices showed no significant differences between the two groups.OSA mainly increases night-time systolic and 24-h diastolic BPV in hypertensive patients. This may provide a plausible explanation for OSA remaining a major risk determinant for cardiovascular diseases.