Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

During obstructive sleep apnea, transient arousal at the resumption of breathing is coincident with a substantial rise in blood pressure. To assess the hemodynamic effect of arousal alone, 149 transient stimuli were administered to five normal subjects. Two electroencephalograms (EEG), an electrooculogram, a submental electromyogram (EMG), and beat-to-beat blood pressure (Finapres, Ohmeda) were recorded in all subjects. Stimulus length was varied to produce a range of cortical EEG arousals that were graded as follows: 0, no increase in high-frequency EEG or EMG; 1, increased high-frequency EEG and/or EMG for < 10 s; 2, increased high-frequency EEG and/or EMG for > 10 s. Overall, compared with control values, average systolic pressure rose [nonrapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep 10.0 +/- 7.69 (SD) mmHg; rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep 6.0 +/- 6.73 mmHg] and average diastolic pressure rose (NREM sleep 6.1 +/- 4.43 mmHg; REM sleep 3.7 +/- 3.02 mmHg) over the 10 s following the stimulus (NREM sleep, P < 0.0001; REM sleep, P < 0.002). During NREM sleep, there was a trend toward larger blood pressure rises at larger grades of arousal (systolic: r = 0.22, 95% confidence interval 0.02–0.40; diastolic: r = 0.48, 95% confidence interval 0.31–0.62). The average blood pressure rise in response to the grade 2 arousals was approximately 75% of that during obstructive sleep apnea. Arousal stimuli that did not cause EEG arousal still produced a blood pressure rise (mean systolic rise 8.6 +/- 7.0 mmHg, P < 0.0001).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Applied Physiology


American Physiological Society

Publication Date





1123 - 1130