The impact of continuous positive airway pressure on heart rate variability in obstructive sleep apnea patients during sleep: A meta-analysis

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Abstract

Background:

Heart rate variability (HRV), modulated by cardiac autonomic function, is impaired in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, the effect of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on HRV is debated.

Objectives:

To investigate the associations between CPAP and HRV in OSA.

Methods:

Based on literature from five databases published through August 2017, we performed a meta-analysis of cohort studies of OSA treated with CPAP. The change of low-frequency band (LF), high-frequency band (HF) and the ratio between LF and HF (LHR) were analyzed.

Results:

Eleven studies were included. Decreased LF (SMD = −0.32, 95%CI: −0.62,−0.01; P = 0.043) and HF (SMD = −0.51, 95%CI: −0.95, −0.08, P = 0.020) were shown while measured on CPAP. When measured off CPAP, HF was increased remarkably (SMD: 0.31, 95%CI: 0.02, 0.60, P = 0.034).

Conclusions:

CPAP can improve autonomic activity, which might be one mechanism to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases in OSA.

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