Acute and sustained activation of the sympathetic nervous system are clinical hallmarks of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. Conversely, their treatment has been shown to reverse these abnormalities. The objectives of this brief review are to summarize: 1) present knowledge concerning the mechanisms, magnitude and consequences of night- and day-time sympathetic nervous system activation in patients with these sleep-related breathing disorders; and 2) the impact on the sympathetic nervous system and on blood pressure of their specific treatment.
Keywords: Adaptive servo-ventilation, central sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure, heart failure, hypertension,
muscle sympathetic nerve activity, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep.
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