Does obstructive sleep apnea affect aerobic fitness?

Louis Q. Guillermo, Thomas J. Gal, Eric A. Mair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives: We sought to determine whether patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) had an objective change in aerobic fitness during cycle ergometry compared to a normal population. The most accurate test of aerobic fitness is measurement of maximum oxygen consumption (V̇O2max) with cycle ergometry. Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis (247 patients with OSA) of V̇O2max from annual cycle ergometry tests compared to a large control group (normative data from 1.4 million US Air Force tests) in a tertiary care setting. Results: Overall, individuals with OSA had increased V̇O2max when compared to the normalized US Air Force data (p < .001). Patients with an apnea-hypopnea index of greater than 20 demonstrated a decreased V̇O2max as compared to normalized values (p < .001). No differences in V̇O2max were observed after either medical or surgical therapy for OSA. Conclusions: Overall, in a US Air Force population, OSA does not predict a decrease in aerobic fitness as measured by cycle ergometry. However, patients with an apnea-hypopnea index of greater than 20 have a statistically significant decrease in aerobic fitness compared to the normal population. This study demonstrates the effects of OSA on aerobic fitness. Further correlation of fitness testing results with OSA severity and treatment is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-720
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Aerobic fitness
  • Cycle ergometry
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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