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Original Research: SLEEP MEDICINE |

Exercise Capacity and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Lean Subjects

Camila F. Rizzi, PT; Fátima Cintra, MD, PhD; Thais Risso, PT; Cristiane Pulz, PhD; Sergio Tufik, MD, PhD; Angelo de Paola, MD, PhD; Dalva Poyares, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

From the Cardiology Discipline, Medicine Department (Mss Rizzi and Risso, Drs Cintra, Pulz, and de Paola), and the Sleep Medicine and Biology Discipline, Psychobiology Department (Mss Rizzi and Risso, Drs Cintra, Tufik, and Poyares), Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Correspondence to: Fatima Cintra, MD, PhD, Rua Napoleão de Barros, 925. Vila Clementino, São Paulo, SP, Brazil; e-mail: fatimacintra@interair.com.br


Funding/Support: This study was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo/Associação Fundo de Incentivo à Psicofarmacologia (FAPESP/AFIP).

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2010 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2010;137(1):109-114. doi:10.1378/chest.09-1201
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Background:  Conflicting data regarding exercise capacity and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have been published, which may be partially explained by the difficulty of controlling all of the confounding factors. The aim of this study is to evaluate the exercise, anthropometric, and blood parameters in lean, sedentary patients with OSA compared with controls.

Methods:  Fifty-four lean subjects (including 27 patients with OSA and 27 controls) were selected. The control group was matched for age and gender. All subjects underwent polysomnography, anthropometric measures, a cardiorespiratory exercise test, two-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography, and spirometry.

Results:  The mean age was 52.9 ± 7.9 years in subjects with OSA and 52.8 ± 8.1 years in controls (P = .95). The cervical circumference was greater in the lean OSA group when compared with the controls (33.7 ± 3.5 cm vs 31.4 ± 2.8 cm; P = .01). There were statistical differences in the apnea-hypopnea index, minimal oxygen saturation, and mean oxygen saturation in the lean patients with OSA. Glycemia was higher in the lean OSA group (115.1 ± 50.1 mg/dL vs 94.2 ± 9.8 mg/dL; P = .04). There were no differences between groups in the peak oxygen consumption (Vo2), anaerobic threshold (AT), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), BP, and heart rate.

Conclusion:  High glycemia and cervical circumference enlargement are the main characteristics of lean patients with OSA. Exercise performance is similar between groups, considering the peak Vo2, AT, and RER. These results suggest that OSA does not impair functional capacity in lean subjects and that obesity probably participates in the diminished cardiopulmonary capacity observed in patients with OSA.Trial registration:www.clinicaltrials.gov; Identifier: NCT00768625

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