Upper airway stimulation in obstructive sleep apnea improves glucose metabolism and reduces hedonic drive for food

Armin Steffen, Rodrigo Chamorro*, Laura Buyny, Anne Windjäger, Britta Wilms, Katrin Hasselbacher, Barbara Wollenberg, Hendrik Lehnert, Sebastian M. Schmid

*Corresponding author for this work
4 Citations (Scopus)


Upper airway stimulation is a new and effective second-line treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but possible consequences on glucose metabolism and central regulation of food intake are unclear. Twenty patients were prospectively studied before and 12 months after obstructive sleep apnea treatment by upper airway stimulation. Respiratory parameters and daytime sleepiness were assessed to document effectiveness of treatment. Glucose metabolism was assessed by the oral glucose tolerance test, and hedonic versus homeostatic drive to eat was characterized. At 12 months, upper airway stimulation significantly improved measures of obstructive sleep apnea (all p < 0.01). Despite no change in body weight, fasting C-peptide insulin resistance index (p = 0.01) as well as insulin and C-peptide levels at 60 min during the oral glucose tolerance test (p < 0.02) were reduced. Hedonic drive to eat was strongly reduced (p < 0.05), while leptin and ghrelin remained unchanged (p > 0.15). Upper airway stimulation is effective in treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and improves glucose metabolism. Reduced hedonic drive to eat might contribute to these metabolic improvements. These promising findings are in need for long-term controlled evaluation of metabolic sequelae of upper airway stimulation and to mechanistically evaluate the metabolic benefits of upper airway stimulation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12794
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)

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