Richard J. Schwab

faculty photo
Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Medical Director, Penn Center for Sleep Disorders
Vice Chair, Division of Sleep Medicine
Interim Division Chair, Division of Sleep Medicine
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.

Description of Itmat Expertise

- The pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea utilizing novel upper airway imaging techniques
- The relationship of obesity to sleep apnea
- Novel treatment options for sleep apnea
- Insights into the genetics of sleep apnea

Selected Publications

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 July 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.

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.

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.

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.

Erica R. Thaler, MD; Richard J. Schwab, MD : Single Institution Experience and Learning Curve with UAS. The Laryngoscope 126(S7): S17-S19, September 2016.

Grace W. Pien, MD, MSCE; Brendan T. Keenan, MS; Carole L. Marcus, MBBCh; Bethany Staley, BA; Sarah J. Ratcliffe, PhD; Nicholas J. Jackson, MPH, MA; William Wieland, BA; Yi Sun, MA; Richard J. Schwab, MD: An Examination of Methodological Paradigms for Calculating Upper Airway Critical Pressures during Sleep. SLEEP 39(5): 977-987, May 2016.

Magalang, UJ, Arnardottir, ES, Chen, NH, Cistulli, PA, Gislason, T, Lim, D, Penzel T, Schwab, RJ, Tufik, S, and Pack, AI : Agreement in the Scoring of Respiratory Events Among International Sleep Centers for Home Sleep Testing. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 12(1): 71-77, January 2016 Notes: pii: jc-00179-15 [Epub ahead of print]

Rodgers, ZB, , Leinwand SE, Keenan BT, Kini LG, Schwab RJ, Wehrli FW: Cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2) in obstructive sleep apnea at rest and in response to breath-hold challenge. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism 36(4): 755-767, September 2015.

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Last updated: 09/19/2018
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