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Effect of continuous positive airway pressure on nocturnal urine production in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Miyazato M, Tohyama K, Touyama M, Nakamura H, Oshiro T, Ueda S, Saito S

Neurourology and Urodynamics 2017; 36: 376-9

This is a study of sleep apnea patients that examined the effect of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment on urine production. CPAP is a widely employed treatment for sleep apnea and consists of pressurized room air, usually delivered at a constant pressure (typically with a mask) as the patient sleeps. In most cases of sleep apnea, it is uniformly regarding as one of the most successful of treatments for the condition, although there can be comorbidities, e.g., heart failure, where its use may be more problematic.

Sleep apnea has been shown in observational studies to be related to nocturia and CPAP has been shown to reduce the number of nocturia episodes, but this paper is one of the first to show a decrease, not only in nocturnal voiding episodes, but also in overnight urine volumes under CPAP treatment. While total overnight urine volumes were nearly cut 50%, total 24 hr urine volume was essentially unchanged and mean voided nocturnal volume at night was unchanged. These results are consistent with treatment of sleep apnea when it occurs in the context of nocturia, perhaps even as a first line treatment. The study appeared to be well done and candidly reported (only about 75% of the patients continued to use CPAP after a period of about 3 months), but was not intended to fully elucidate the specific mechanisms by which CPAP decreases nocturnal urine production. For example, elevated atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) accompanying sleep apnea has often been assumed to be a cause of increased urine production in these patients. The current study did not study ANP levels but did note that brain natriuretic peptide BNP, another peptide produced in the myocardium, did not change after CPAP. This at least raises the possibility that CPAP may have reduced nocturia episodes not via biochemical pathways but rather because it allowed patients to sleep more soundly without interruptions.  Both animal and human (pediatric and adult) data have indicated that urine production is increased by sleep deprivation. By virtue of its ability to allow patients to sleep with less fragmentation, CPAP may be countering this effect. Although the exact mechanisms remain open to additional research, the finding is very clear: use of CPAP improves nocturia.

Donald L. Bliwise, Ph.D.
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, Georgia (USA)



The aim of this study was to identify the clinical features of patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) and investigate the impact of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment on nocturnal urine volume.


This study enrolled 53 patients with moderate-to-severe OSAS and an apnea-hypoxia index of >20/hr. Data were collected on serum brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) level, International Prostate Symptom Score-Quality of Life (IPSS-QOL) score, Overactive Bladder Symptom Score (OABSS), International Consultation on Incontinence Modular Questionnaire-Nocturia QOL (ICIQ-NQOL) score, Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) score, and the frequency volume chart. Only patients who continued CPAP treatment for 3 months were included in the analysis.


In total, 40 patients (33 men and 7 women) completed the study (75.5%). The mean age was 56.9 years. The night-time frequency to void was significantly decreased from 2.1 to 1.2 after CPAP treatment (P < 0.01). The mean scores as assessed by ESS, IPSS-QOL, OABSS, and ICIQ-NQOL significantly improved after CPAP (P < 0.01). The mean diastolic blood pressure significantly decreased after CPAP treatment. However, there was no significant change in the BNP level before and after CPAP treatment. In the frequency volume chart, hours of undisturbed sleep, total nocturnal voided volume, and nocturnal polyuria index significantly improved after CPAP treatment (P < 0.05). However, 24-hr voided volume and mean voided volume during night-time did not change after CPAP treatment.


CPAP treatment decreases night-time urinary frequency by reducing nocturnal urine production and improves QOL in patients with OSAS. Neurourol. Urodynam. 36:376-379, 2017. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.