We examined the effects of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on exercise performance in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Six patients were treated with nasal CPAP on seven successive days and underwent overnight sleep studies and multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) at the beginning and after the last day of the treatment. The subjects also performed incremental exercise testing using a bicycle ergometer followed by 0-w, 25-w, 50-w, - (3 minutes each) until maximum level. Arterial oxygen pressure, arterial carbon dioxide pressure at rest while awake, apnea/ hypopnea index, longest apnea duration, the lowest percutaneous oxygen saturation measured by a pulse oximeter and the value of MSLT were significantly improved after nasal CPAP. Moreover, maximal oxygen consumption was significantly increased from 1841 ml/min±350 to 2125 ml/min±351 (p<0.05); however, other cardiorespiratory parameters did not change significantly. The improvement of exercise performance by short-term nasal CPAP treatment in OSA patients may correlate with the improvement of sleepiness.
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