The gradual decay in ventilation after removal of a respiratory stimulus has been proposed to protect against cyclic breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The male predominance of OSA, and the increased incidence of OSA in women after menopause, indicates that the respiratory-stimulating effect of progesterone may provide protection against OSA by altering the rate of poststimulus ventilatory decline (PSVD). It was therefore hypothesized that PSVD is longer in premenopausal women than in men and is longer in the luteal menstrual phase compared with the follicular phase. PSVD was measured in 12 men and in 11 women at both their luteal and follicular phases, after cessation of isocapnic hypoxia and normoxic hypercapnia. PSVD was compared between genders and between women in the luteal and follicular phases by repeated-measures ANOVA. There were no significant differences in PSVD between any of the groups after either respiratory stimulus. This suggests that the higher occurrence of OSA in men does not reflect an underlying gender difference in PSVD and implies the increased prevalence of OSA in women after menopause is not representative of an effect of progesterone on PSVD.
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Ventilatory afterdischarge