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The Pathophysiology of Sleep Apnoea: What We have Learned from Animal Models of Chronic Intermittent Hypoxia

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Sleep apnoea is a common condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The English bulldog is the only animal known to have sleep apnoea. In recent years, a number of animal models have been developed which have contributed greatly to our knowledge of the condition. These models develop a number of pathophysiological changes similar to human sleep apnoea such as systemic and pulmonary hypertension, increased haematocrit, and effects on blood coaguability, cardiac rhythmogenesis and central nervous system and upper airway muscle function. This review will describe what has been learned from these models concerning the pathophysiology of sleep apnoea with special emphasis on the role played by intermittent hypoxia.

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Keywords: Sleep apnoea; animal models; intermittent hypoxia; pulmonary hypertension; systemic hypertension; upper airway muscle

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 123 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Publication date: 2007-02-01

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  • Current Respiratory Medicine Reviews publishes frontier reviews on all the latest advances on respiratory diseases and its related areas e.g. pharmacology, pathogenesis, clinical care, and therapy. The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles dedicated to clinical research in the field. The journal is essential reading for all researchers and clinicians in respiratory medicine.
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