Jaw Devices As Effective As CPAP For Lowering Blood Pressure In Sleep Apnea Patients


A new study found that jaw devices or mandibular advancement devices (MADs) and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) share the same impacts on blood pressure reduction. The former is less regarded as an effective treatment for sleep apnea. However, a new study proves that MADs are a viable option, especially for patients who have difficulty using CPAP.

Obstructive sleep apnea is linked with increased blood pressure (BP), which can lead to a higher risk of heart diseases. 

In a new study, researchers from the University of Zurich wanted to compare the relationship between the use of CPAP, MADs and placebos in reducing systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

By conducting a meta-analysis of previously published data, the researchers aimed to determine a constant pattern in all of the relevant reports. The researchers looked into the Cochrane Library, EMBASE and MEDLINE databases and collated studies dated until August 2015. A total of 872 studies were identified, 51 of which were chosen for final investigation.

After analysis, the authors found that CPAP was linked to a decreased systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of 2.5 mm Hg and 2.0 mm Hg respectively. Extending the use of CPAP by one hour per night was found to further reduce SBP by 1.5 mm Hg and DBP by 0.9 mm Hg.

MADs also showed blood pressure decline and were associated with SBP and DBP reductions of 2.1 mm Hg and 1.9 mm Hg respectively.

"CPAP and MADs not only reduce symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea such as sleepiness, but also lower blood pressure," said Dr. Malcolm Kohler, the study lead author and the head of respiratory medicine at the university.

The numbers are not significantly varied but the researchers said CPAP exuded a higher link to SBP reductions.

MADs push the patient's jaw and tongue to maintain an open airway whereas CPAP generates mild air pressure to keep the airway open. It also entails wearing a face mask attached to a compressor.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Photo: Rachel Tayse | Flickr

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