50 hypertensive patients and 50 normal controls were evaluated in the sleep laboratory for the presence of sleep apnoea or sleep apnoeic activity. Hypertensive patients were at high risk of sleep apnoea; 15 hypertensive patients (30%) had sleep apnoea and another 17 (34%) had sleep apnoeic activity. In contrast, none of the age-matched and sex-matched control subjects had sleep apnoea, and 24% had sleep apnoeic activity. The degree of oxygen desaturation was correlated with the duration as well as the number of apnoeic events. Presence of sleep apnoea in the patients was significantly correlated with higher blood pressure levels when they were initially seen in the clinic. Patients with the most severe sleep apnoea had the highest initial blood-pressure levels and were more refractory to treatment.
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