PloS one 2018 02 2313(2) e0192442 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0192442
Severe obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) can lead to neurocognitive alterations, including gait impairments. The beneficial effects of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on improving excessive daytime sleepiness and daily functioning have been documented. However, a demonstration of CPAP treatment efficacy on gait control is still lacking. This study aims to test the hypothesis that CPAP improves gait control in severe OSA patients.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
In this prospective controlled study, twelve severe OSA patients (age = 57.2±8.9 years, body mass index = 27.4±3.1 kg·m-2, apnoea-hypopnoea index = 46.3±11.7 events·h-1) and 10 healthy matched subjects were included. Overground gait parameters were recorded at spontaneous speed and stride time variability, a clinical marker of gait control, was calculated. To assess the role of executive functions in gait and postural control, a dual-task paradigm was applied using a Stroop test as secondary cognitive task. All assessments were performed before and after 8 weeks of CPAP treatment.
Before CPAP treatment, OSA patients had significantly larger stride time variability (3.1±1.1% vs 2.1±0.5%) and lower cognitive performances under dual task compared to controls. After CPAP treatment, stride time variability was significantly improved and no longer different compared to controls. Cognitive performance under dual task also improved after CPAP treatment.
Eight weeks of CPAP treatment improves gait control of severe OSA patients, suggesting morphological and functional cerebral improvements. Our data provide a rationale for further mechanistic studies and the use of gait as a biomarker of OSA brain consequences.