Richard J. Schwab

faculty photo
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) 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

Chiffer, RC, Schwab, RJ, Keenan, BT, Borek, RC, Thaler, ER: Volumetric MRI Analysis Pre and Post Transoral Robotic Surgery for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA-TORS). The Laryngoscope 2015 (in press).

Pisani, MA, Friese, RS, Gehlbach, BK, Schwab, RJ, Weinhouse, GL, Jones, SF: Sleep in the Intensive Care Unit. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2015 (in press).

Schwab, RJ, Kim, C, Bagchi, S, Keenan, BT, Comyn, FL, Wang, S, Tapia, IE, Huang, S, Traylor, J, Torigian, DA, Bradford, RM, Marcus, CL: Understanding the Anatomic Basis for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome in Adolescents. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2015 (in press).

Kim, A, Keenan, BT, Jackson, N, Chan, EL, Staley, B, Poptani, H, Torigian, DA, Pack, AI, Schwab, RJ : Tongue Fat and its Relationship to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. SLEEP 37(10): 1639-1648, October 2014.

Chi, L, Comyn, FL, Keenan, BT, Cater, J, Maislin, G, Pack, AI, Schwab, RJ: Heritability of Craniofacial Structures in Normal Subjects and Patients with Sleep Apnea. SLEEP 37(10): 1689-1698, October 2014.

Kauta, SR, Keenan, BT, Goldberg, L, Schwab, RJ: Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Disordered Breathing in Hospitalized Cardiac Patients: A Reduction in 30-Day Hospital Readmission Rates. J Clin Sleep Med 10(10): 1051-9, October 2014.

Sands, SA, Eckert, DJ, Jordan, AS, Edwards, BA, Owens, RL, Butler, JP, Schwab, RJ, Loring, SH, Malhotra, A, White, DP, Wellman, A: Enhanced Upper-airway Muscle Responsiveness is a Distinct Feature of Overweight/Obese Individuals Without Sleep Apnea. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 190(8): 930-7, October 2014.

Keenan BT, Maislin G, Sunwoo BY, Arnardottir ES, Jackson N, Olafsson I, Juliusson S, Scwab RJ, Gislason T, Benedikstdottir B, Pack AI: Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment and Fasting Lipids: A Comparative Effectiveness Study. Eur Respir J 44(2): 405-14, August 2014.

Schwab, RJ, Kim, C, Siegel, LC, Keenan, BT, Black, J, Farid-Moayer, M, Podmore, JL, Vaska, M: Examining the Mechanism of Action of a New Device Using Oral Pressure Therapy for the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. SLEEP 37(7): 1237-1247, July 2014.

Brennick, M, Delikatny, J, Pack, AI, Pickup, S, Shinde, S, Zhu, J, Roscoe, I, Kim, DY, Buxbaum, LU, Cater, JR, Schwab, RJ : Tongue Fat Infiltration in Obese vs. Lean Zucker Rats. SLEEP 37(6), June 2014.

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Last updated: 03/24/2015
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