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Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is associated with high cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Several randomised controlled trials have shown that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of OSA reduces blood pressure (BP). This randomised, sham-placebo controlled crossover trial assesses whether CPAP produces a similar clinically significant fall in BP in hypertensive OSA patients, but without hypersomnolence. Thirty-five, nonsleepy, hypertensive patients with OSA were treated with CPAP for 1 month, randomised first to either therapeutic or sham-placebo (subtherapeutic CPAP, about 1 cmH(2)O pressure). The second months' alternative treatment followed a 2-week washout period. BP was measured over 24 h, before and at the end of the two treatment periods: mean 24-h BP was the primary outcome variable. There was no overall significant difference in mean 24-h BP: the change in mean 24-h BP on therapeutic CPAP was -2.1 mmHg (sd 8.1), and -1.1 mmHg (sd 8.1) on subtherapeutic CPAP, with a difference of 0.7 mmHg (95% confidence interval (CI) +2.9- -4.4). There was a small significant fall in Epworth Sleepiness Score, therapeutic (-1.4) versus sham (-0.3), and difference -1.2 (95% CI -2.0- -0.4), but no change in objective sleepiness. In nonhypersomnolent hypertensive patients with obstructive sleep apnoea, there is no significant fall in mean 24-h blood pressure with continuous positive airway pressure, in contrast to the fall seen in hypersomnolent patients with obstructive sleep apnoea.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur Respir J

Publication Date





1229 - 1235


Adult, Aged, Blood Pressure, Blood Pressure Monitors, Circadian Rhythm, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, Cross-Over Studies, Disorders of Excessive Somnolence, Female, Humans, Hypertension, Male, Middle Aged, Sleep Apnea, Obstructive, Treatment Outcome, Wakefulness