People Suffering With Sleep Apnea May Be at Risk of Cardiac Issues

A new study shows that sleep disorder patients may be at a higher risk for heart attack, heart failure, stroke or death.

Researchers published the study in the Journal of the American Heart Association. According to Cardiovascular Business, sleep apnea, snoring, and other sleep-disordered issues have been identified as risk factors for cardiac events, but not much research had been done.

The study monitored the breathing patterns for 241 patients after each patient had a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The research showed that:

  • Wholly 52.3% of patients had breathing issues affect their sleeping habits.
  • Of those 52.3%, 21.4% of patients had major cardiovascular issues while sleeping.
  • Only 7.8% of patients without any sleep disordered breathing had any major cardiovascular events.

“Our findings suggest that sleep-disordered breathing is an important risk factor for stroke, heart failure and more after PCI for acute corny syndrome,” said Toru Mazaki, M.D., chief physician of the Department of Cardiology at Kobe Central Hospital and lead author of the study. “Doctors and patients should consider sleep studies post-PCI to rule out sleep-disordered breathing or take necessary precautions to restore healthy breathing during sleep.”

The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that more research is still needed regarding sleep apnea and other medical issues.

“The Task Force is calling for more research on whether screening in adults without known symptoms leads to improvements in health outcomes such as heart attacks, strokes, quality of life and mortality,” said Alex Krist, M.D., member of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF).

“We still don’t have great screening tools in primary care for symptomatic patients to make a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA),” said Sandeep Ghuman, M.D., physician at the Dignity Health Family Medicine Residency Program at Northridge Hospital, “so the benefit of screening asymptomatic patients is probably going to be minimal at best.”

Approximately 50 to 70 million U.S. adults have some form of sleep disorder.

Doctors recommend further research along with randomized trials of larger numbers of patients rather than limiting the study to one medical center.

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