Baroreflex gain in children with obstructive sleep apnea

Keith McConnell, Virend K. Somers, Thomas Kimball, Stephen Daniels, Rhonda VanDyke, Matthew Fenchel, Aliza Cohen, Paul Willging, Abu Shamsuzzaman, Raouf Amin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Rationale: We previously demonstrated that children with obstructive sleep apnea have increased blood pressure associated with changes in left ventricular mass index. Others have shown in adults that blood pressure variability is an important predictor of changes in left ventricular mass. The baroreflex system buffersblood pressure changes by varying heart rate. We have thus hypothesized that (1) baroreflex system gain is increased during sleep, improving blood pressure buffering; (2) children with obstructive sleep apnea lack this baroreflex gain increase; and (3) reduced blood pressure buffering results in exaggerated blood pressure variability that is associated with end-organ damage. Objectives: Compare measures of left ventricular mass index and nighttime baroreflex gain of healthy children to those of children with obstructive sleep apnea. Methods: A total of 169 children (50 control subjects, 63 with mild obstructive sleep apnea, and 56 with severe obstructive sleep apnea) with a meanage of 9.9 years (±2.2) underwent echocardiography followed by polysomnography with continuous blood pressure measurement. Baroreflex gain was calculated in time and frequency domains. Measurements and Main Results: Healthy children demonstrated a nighttime pattern of increasing baroreflex gain. Children with obstructive sleep apnea had decreased nighttime baroreflex gain compared with control subjects. Nighttime blood pressure and blood pressure variability were significantly correlated with left ventricular mass index. Conclusions: Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with a decrease in nighttime baroreflex gain and an increase in blood pressure variability. This increase is correlated with changes in left ventricularmass index.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-48
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009


  • Apnea
  • Baroreceptor
  • Blood pressure
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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