Effects of 8 weeks of continuous positive airway pressure on abdominal adiposity in obstructive sleep apnoea

Sheila Sivam*, Craig L. Phillips, Michael I. Trenell, Brendon J. Yee, Peter Y. Liu, Keith K. Wong, Ronald R. Grunstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment on regional adipose tissue distribution in patients with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnoea. Patients received both therapeutic and sham CPAP in a random order for 2 months each with an intervening 1-month washout. Abdominal subcutaneous, visceral and liver fat were quantified using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Liver enzymes and plasma glucose were also determined. Measurements were obtained at baseline and at the end of both treatment arms. 38 eligible patients were randomly assigned to a treatment order, with 27 patients having complete MRI/MRS data. No significant difference was observed in subcutaneous (-28.6 cm3; p=0.49) or visceral (-16.8 cm3; p=0.59) adipose tissue, intrahepatic lipid (-0.2%; p=0.21), or fasting glucose measurements (-0.1 mmol·L-1; p=0.46) between treatment modalities. Alkaline phosphatase decreased (-3.1 U·L -1; p=0.02) while on therapeutic CPAP compared with sham CPAP but other liver enzymes, including aspartate aminotransferase (0.3 U·L -1; p=0.82), alanine aminotransferase (1.34 U·L-1; p=0.59) and γ-glutamyltransferase (-2.3 U·L-1; p=0.33), remained unchanged. In this first randomised, sham-controlled trial, there was no change in adipose tissue distribution after 8 weeks of therapeutic CPAP compared with 8 weeks of sham CPAP. Longer duration of CPAP use may be necessary to demonstrate a difference. Copyright

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-918
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Fasting glucose
  • Hepatic fat
  • Liver function test
  • Subcutaneous fat
  • Visceral fat


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