Arousal: Ontology, Functional Anatomy, Methodology, and Consequences

  • Eliot S. KatzEmail author
Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM)


An arousal is considered a discrete event occurring within the context of sleep. The spectrum of arousal ranges from autonomic activation to complete awakening. Arousal is a graded phenomenon that may be associated with any combination of abrupt electroencephalogram (EEG) alterations (frequency and amplitude), blood pressure elevation, sympathetic activation, tachypnea, tachycardia, and movement. Though arousals may alleviate gas exchange abnormalities and normalize respiratory effort, they may do so with the untoward sequelae of sleep fragmentation. Thus, arousal must be viewed as both an essential protective mechanism and as an epiphenomenon adversely affecting sleep quality. This chapter will focus primarily on the role of arousal as a protective reflex, restoring airway patency in response to increased upper airway resistance.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea Sudden Infant Death Syndrome NREM Sleep Pulse Transit Time Cortical Arousal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pulmonary DepartmentChildren’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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