Penn Lung Center

Faculty & Staff

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Richard J. Schwab, MD

Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Co-Director, HUP Sleep Center
Department: Medicine

Contact information
University of Pennsylvania Medical Center
3624 Market Street, Suite 205
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 349-5477
Fax: (215) 615-4874
Haverford College, 1979.
M.D. (Medicine)
University of Pennsylvania, 1983.
Post-Graduate Training
Intern in Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, 1983-1984.
Resident in Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, 1984-1986.
Instructor in Medicine, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, PA, 1986-1988.
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1988-1991.
American Board of Internal Medicine (no recertification necessary), 1986.
American Board of Internal Medicine - Pulmonary Disease, 1990.
American Board of Internal Medicine - Critical Care Medicine, 1991.
American Board of Sleep Medicine, 1992.
Recertification: American Board of Internal Medicine - Pulmonary Disease, 2000.
Recertification: American Board of Internal Medicine - Critical Care Medicine, 2001.
American Board of Internal Medicine - Sleep Medicine, 2009.
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Description of Research Expertise

Dr. Schwab’s research has focused on the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea utilizing novel upper airway imaging techniques. His studies help elucidate the role of the motion of key structures of the upper airway in mediating airway closure. By examining dynamic state-related changes in the upper airway and soft tissue structures surrounding the upper airway he has begun to understand the biomechanics of apneic events. He has studied patients with both magnetic resonance imaging and electronic beam computed tomography during wakefulness and sleep. Several novel findings have resulted from these studies: 1) the anatomic significance of the lateral pharyngeal walls in mediating airway caliber in normals and apneics; and 2) the characterization of the changes in upper airway caliber during the respiratory cycle and the importance of end-expiratory airway narrowing. Dr. Schwab collaborates closely with members of the Departments of Radiology and Biomechanical and Computer Engineering. They have developed state-of-the-art, computer graphics-based analysis software to help model in three dimensions the biomechanical interrelationships between the soft tissue structures and the upper airway.

Selected Publications

Koren D, Marcus CL, Kim C, Gallagher PR, Schwab R, Bradford RM, Zemel BS: Anthropometric predictors of visceral adiposity in normal-weight and obese adolescents. Pediatr Diabetes 14(8): 575-84, December 2013.

Yuan H, Schwab RJ, Kim C, He J, Shults J, Bradford R, Huang J, Marcus CL: Relationship between Body Fat Distribution and Upper Airway Dynamic Function during Sleep in Adolescents. SLEEP 36(8): 1199-1207, August 2013.

Schwab R, Gazendam J, Vandongen H, Neil F, Grant D, Zwaveling, J: Altered Circadian Rhythmicity in ICU Patients. Chest 144(2): 483-9, August 2013.

Borek R, Schwab RJ, Thaler E, Kim C, Jackson N, Mandel JE: Quantitative Airway Analysis During Drug-Induced Sleep Endoscopy for Evaluation of Sleep Apnea. The Laryngoscope 122(11): 2592-9, November 2012.

Arnardottir ES, Maislin G, Jackson N, Schwab RJ, Benediktsdottir B, Teff K, Juliusson S, Pack AI, Gislason T: The role of obesity, different fat compartments and sleep apnea severity in circulating leptin levels: the Icelandic Sleep Apnea Cohort study. International Journal of Obesity. Macmillan Publishers Limited, 37(6): 835-42, June 2013.

Arnardottir E, Maislin G, Schwab RJ, Pack AI, Gozal D, Gislason T, Olafsson I, Juliusson S, Staley B, Romer M: The interaction of obstructive sleep apnea and obesity on the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. The Icelandic Sleep Apnea Cohort. SLEEP 35(7): 921-32, July 2012.

Maislin G, Ahmed MM, Gooneratne N, Thorne-Fitzgerald M, Kim C, Teff K, Arnardottir ES, Benediktsdottir B, Einarsdottir H, Juliusson S, Pack AI, Gislason T, Schwab RJ: Single Slice vs Volumetric MR Assessment of Visceral Adipose Tissue - Reliability and Validity Among the Overweight and Obese. Obesity Surgery 20(10): 2124-32, October 2012.

Schwab RJ: A Quantum Advance in PSG Recordings: The Importance of Head Position in Mediating the AHI. SLEEP 34(8): 985-6, Aug 2011.

Chi L, Comyn FL, Mitra N, Reilly MP, Wan F, Maislin G, Chmiewski L, Thorne-Fitzgerald MD, Victor UN, Pack AI, Schwab RJ: Identification of craniofacial risk factors for obstructive sleep apnoea using three-dimensional MRI. Eur Respir J 38(2): 348-58, Aug 2011.

Sutherland K, Deane SA, Chan AS, Schwab RJ, Ng AT, Darendililer MA, Cistulli PA: Comparative Effects of Two Oral Appliances on Upper Airway Structure in Obstructive Sleep Apnea. SLEEP 34(4): 469-77, April 2011.

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Last updated: 04/21/2014
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