Supplemental oxygen increases arterial stiffness in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Matthew N. Bartels, Sanja Jelic, Robert C. Basner, Pakkay Ngai, John M. Gonzalez, Ronald E. De Meersman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Study objectives: Recently, we demonstrated significantly improved baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) and autonomic balance after 31% supplemental oxygen (SuppO2) in resting patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In order to investigate whether peripheral arterial stiffness changes may play a role, we evaluated changes in peripheral arterial stiffness and BRS after SuppO2. Design: Single blinded crossover design. Setting: Pulmonary exercise testing laboratory. Participants: Seventy subjects with moderate to severe COPD. Interventions: We measured arterial vascular stiffness using the augmentation index via contour analysis of the radial pulse obtained from applanation tonometry. BRS was derived using the sequence method before and after treatments with compressed air (CA) and 30% SuppO2 in 70 individuals with COPD via a counterbalanced crossover design. Results: Paired t-tests indicated significant differences in oxygen saturation (SaO2) following SuppO2 when compared to CA (x̄ 96.0±2.0% SuppO2 versus x̄ 92.6±3.6% CA, P<0.001). BRS was significantly greater following SuppO2 compared to CA (x̄ 3.5±2.3 ms/mmHg SuppO2 versus x̄ 3.1±2.1 CA ms/mmHg, P<0.03). Vascular stiffness was significantly increased with SuppO2 when compared with CA (x̄ 13.3±6.1% SuppO2 versus x̄ 10.8±4.9% CA, P<0.001). Conclusions: Our findings indicate that oxygen supplementation ameliorates BRS by changes in vasomotor activity. The amelioration of the BRS into a more normal range is a move towards the restoration of more normal physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial augmentation index
  • Baroreceptor sensitivity
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Oxygen supplementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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