What are the clinical implications of oxygen desaturation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Himanshu Wickramasinghe, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

The clinical implications of these findings suggest that the reason why continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and supplemental oxygen may work to ameliorate rapid desaturation is related to the extent that apneas can remain isolated. This results in a longer ventilatory phase to allow venous reoxygenation.

It should be kept in mind that the events studied were not obstructive events but were apneas associated with hypoxemia. They were not terminated by EEG arousals in a natural way to end an apnea sequence and were not produced in humans. Therefore, this study’s clinical application is associated with several caveats.


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