Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology

faculty photo

Richard J. Schwab, MD

Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Department: Medicine

Contact information
University of Pennsylvania Medical Center
3624 Market Street, Suite 205
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 662-7772
Fax: (215) 615-4874
Haverford College, 1979.
M.D. (Medicine)
University of Pennsylvania, 1983.
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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

Jason Ackrivo, John Hansen-Flaschen, E. Paul Wileyto, Richard J. Schwab, Lauren Elman, Steven M. Kawut: Development of a prognostic model of respiratory insufficiency or death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Eur Respir J 53(4), April 2019.

Clemens Heiser, Armin Steffen, Maurits Boon, Benedikt Hofauer, Karl Doghramji, Joachim T. Maurer, J. Ulrich Sommer, Ryan Soose, Patrick J. Strollo Jr, Richard Schwab, Erica Thaler, Kirk Withrow, Alan Kominsky, Christopher Larsen, Eric J. Kezirian, Jennifer Hsia, Stanley Chia, John Harwick, Kingman Strohl and Reena Mehra: Post-approval upper airway stimulation predictors of treatment efficacy in the ADHERE registry. Eur Respir J 2019.

Yuan Feng, Brendan T Keenan, Stephen Wang, Sarah Leinwand, Andrew Wiemken, Allan I Pack, and Richard J. Schwab: Dynamic Upper Airway Imaging During Wakefulness in Obese Subjects with and without Sleep Apnea. Am J Respir Crit Care Med December 2018.

Yaeger A, Cash NR, Parham T, Frankel DS, Deo R, Schaller RD, Santangeli P, Nazarian S, Supple GE, Arkles J, Riley MP, Garcia FC, Lin D, Epstein AE, Callans DJ, Marchlinski FE, Kolansky DM, Mora JI, Amaro 3, Schwab R, Pack A, Dixit S: A Nurse-Led Limited Risk Factor Modification Program to Address Obesity and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Atrial Fibrillation Patients. Journal of the American Heart Association December 2018.

Turnbull CD, Wang SH, Manuel AR, Keenan BT, McIntyre AG, Schwab RJ, Stradling JR: Relationships between MRI fat distributions and sleep apnea and obesity hypoventilation syndrome in very obese patients. Sleep & Breathing 22(3): 673-681, September 2018.

RJ Schwab, SH Wang, J Verbraecken, OM Vanderveken, P Van de Heyning, WG Vos, JW DeBacker, BT Keenan, Q Ni, W DeBacker: Anatomic Predictors of Response and Mechanism of Action of Upper Airway Stimulation Therapy in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. SLEEP 41(4), April 2018.

Carole L Marcus, Brendan T Keenan, Jingtao Huang, Haibo Yuan, Swaroop Pinto, Ruth M Bradford, Christopher Kim, Sheila Bagchi, Francois-Louis Comyn, Stephen Wang, Ignacio E Tapia, Greg Maislin, Christopher M Cielo, Joel Traylor, Drew A Torigian, Richard J Schwab: The obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome in adolescents. Thorax 72(8): 720-728, August 2017.

Schwab RJ, Leinwand SE, Bearn CB, Maislin G, Rao RB, Nagaraja A, Wang S, Keenan BT: Digital Morphometrics: A New Upper Airway Phenotyping Paradigm in OSA. Chest 152(2): 330-342, August 2017.

Loro E, Wang SH, Schwab RJ, Khurana TS: In Vivo Evaluattion of the Mechanical and Viscoelastic Properties of the Rat Tongue. J Vis Exp(125), July 2017.

Imran H. Iftikhar1, Lia Bittencourt, Shawn D. Youngstedt, Najib Ayas, Peter Cistulli, Richard Schwab, Martin W. Durkin, Ulysses J. Magalang : Comparative efficacy of CPAP, MADs, exercise-training and dietary weight loss for sleep apnea: a network meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine 30: 7-14, February 2017.

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Last updated: 06/28/2019
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