Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by recurrent complete and partial upper airway obstructive events, resulting in intermittent hypoxemia, autonomic fluctuation, and sleep fragmentation. Approximately 34% and 17% of middle-aged men and women, respectively, meet the diagnostic criteria for OSA. Sleep disturbances are common and underdiagnosed among middle-aged and older adults, and the prevalence varies by race/ethnicity, sex, and obesity status. OSA prevalence is as high as 40% and 80% in patients with hypertension, heart failure, coronary artery disease, pulmonary hypertension, atrial fibrillation and stroke. Despite its high prevalence in patients with heart disease and the vulnerability of cardiac patients to OSA-related stressors and adverse outcomes, OSA is often underrecognized and undertreated in cardiovascular practice. We recommend screening for OSA in patients with resistant/poorly controlled hypertension, pulmonary hypertension, and recurrent atrial fibrillation after either cardioversion or ablation. Learn more.