How Does Obstructive Sleep Apnea Affect Arterial Inflammation?

Neomi Shah, MD, MPH, studied patients with sleep apnea to uncover its effect on arterial inflammation.

How does obstructive sleep apnea before and after treatment affect arterial inflammation - the plaques that develop in the walls of the arteries?

Using CPAP for three months certainly seems to help. In a study of 5 patients, it reduced plaque activity by 5.6%, Shah said.

"CPAP helps vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis, but if you're already on a statin, we're not sure what the added benefit of CPAP therapy would be," she explained. "That would be our next phase - to try to understand if CPAP independently reduces atherosclerosis or whether statins will attenuate the beneficial effects of CPAP."