Brazilian scientists find that treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) positively affects atherosclerosis in the disease’s early stages, reports the October 1 edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

A team led by Luciano F. Drager, MD, Hypertension Unit–Heart Institute, University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, Brazil, assigned 24 patients with severe OSA to go without CPAP for 16 weeks. Measurements of arterial stiffness and diameter, 24-hour blood pressure monitoring, C-reactive protein, and catecholamines, a type of hormone, were used to determine changes in the patients’ condition.

After 16 weeks of CPAP therapy, there was substantial lessening in carotid intima-media thickness, C-reactive protein, and presence of catecholamines. Artery diameter did not change significantly.

The team concluded that OSA significantly improves early signs of atherosclerosis, “supporting the concept that OSA is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis.”

To read the abstract, click here.