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Effects of 8 weeks of continuous positive airway pressure on abdominal adiposity in obstructive sleep apnoea

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mike TrenellORCiD


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The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment on regional adipose tissue distribution in patients with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnoea. Patients received both therapeutic and sham CPAP in a random order for 2 months each with an intervening 1-month washout. Abdominal subcutaneous, visceral and liver fat were quantified using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Liver enzymes and plasma glucose were also determined. Measurements were obtained at baseline and at the end of both treatment arms. 38 eligible patients were randomly assigned to a treatment order, with 27 patients having complete MRI/MRS data. No significant difference was observed in subcutaneous (-28.6 cm(3); p=0.49) or visceral (-16.8 cm(3); p=0.59) adipose tissue, intrahepatic lipid (-0.2%; p=0.21), or fasting glucose measurements (-0.1 mmol.L-1; p=0.46) between treatment modalities. Alkaline phosphatase decreased (-3.1 U.L-1; p=0.02) while on therapeutic CPAP compared with sham CPAP but other liver enzymes, including aspartate aminotransferase (0.3 U.L-1; p=0.82), alanine aminotransferase (1.34 U.L-1; p=0.59) and gamma-glutamyltransferase (-2.3 U.L-1; p=0.33), remained unchanged. In this first randomised, sham-controlled trial, there was no change in adipose tissue distribution after 8 weeks of therapeutic CPAP compared with 8 weeks of sham CPAP. Longer duration of CPAP use may be necessary to demonstrate a difference.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sivam S, Phillips CL, Trenell MI, Yee BJ, Liu PY, Wong KK, Grunstein RR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Respiratory Journal

Year: 2012

Volume: 40

Issue: 4

Pages: 913-918

Print publication date: 20/01/2012

ISSN (print): 0903-1936

ISSN (electronic): 1399-3003

Publisher: European Respiratory Society


DOI: 10.1183/09031936.00177011


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Funder referenceFunder name
Centre for Integrated Research and Understanding of Sleep Clinical Research Fellowship
571179Health Professional Fellowship
202916Practitioner Fellowship
301936Australian National Health and Medical Research Council
511929Career Development Fellowship