A member asked:

In a person with sleep apnea, what causes the rises and falls in oxygen saturation of arterial blood during sleep?

6 doctors weighed in across 3 answers
Dr. Patrick Melder answered

Specializes in ENT and Head and Neck Surgery

Lack of oxygen: When you stop breathing (apnea) oxygen and carbon dioxide do not exchange in the lungs. Oxygen drops (hypoxia) and co2 increase (hypercapnia)... Classic response in a patient with apnea.

Answered 7/13/2012

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Dr. Michael Stern answered

Specializes in Facial Pain/Migraine, Dentofacial Cosmetics and Dermal Fillers, General Dentistry, Snoring/Sleep Apnea, Oral DNA Testing/nonsurgical gum disease treatment

No breaths=no oxygen: This is caused by the temporary stoppage/blocking of breathing which is found in sleep apnea. Longer stoppage/blocking of breathing means less oxygen in the blood.

Answered 5/28/2016

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Dr. Mark Birnbach answered

Specializes in Cosmetic Dentistry

Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is defined as stopping breathing for 10 seconds. During that time, the body is not getting any oxygen. In addition , there can be instances that last less than 10 seconds, or where a less than adequate effort to breath is attempted. These also reduce the oxygen intake.

Answered 8/29/2016

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