Sleep apnea is a disorder in which people experience shallow breathing or pauses in breathing during their sleep. African-Americans with moderate or severe sleep apnea are twice as likely to have hard-to-control high blood pressure when their sleep apnea goes untreated, according to a new study funded mainly by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
A study in the October issue of Anesthesiology shows that diagnosing sleep apnea and prescribing CPAP therapy prior to surgery significantly reduced postoperative cardiovascular complications - specifically cardiac arrest and shock - by more than half.
In recent years, a strategy of home sleep apnea testing followed by initiation of autotitrating continuous positive airway pressure therapy in the home has greatly reduced barriers to diagnosis and treatment and has also facilitated routine management of OSA by primary care providers.
This study, which aims to understand how the upper airway collapses in obstructive sleep apnea patients during sleep, will use this information to explain why some patients present a large improvement in opening of the upper airway with the use of an oral appliance while others do not.
The Food and Drug Administration ensures the safety and effectiveness of medical devices, including the device most often used by those affected by OSA - the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, commonly known as CPAP - and a new device, the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) System.
The evidence is very strong for the relationship between sleep apnea and hypertension and cardiovascular disease generally, so people really need to know that,” said Donna Arnett, Ph.D., chair and professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the incoming president of the American Heart Association.
Some possible tests include an echocardiogram to look at the structure and function of the heart to evaluate for heart failure and other health problems; an electrocardiogram (EKG) to scan for irregular heartbeat such as atrial fibrillation ; or arterial blood gases to measure levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood.