Cardiovascular disorders and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Giorgio Coccagna, Antonella Pollini, Federica Provini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The first polysomnographic recordings with concomitant monitoring of cardiocirculatory parameters demonstrated that obstructive apneas arising during sleep are accompanied by a marked increase in pulmonary and systemic arterial pressure and severe alveolar hypoventilation. Apneas also may give rise to cardiac arrhythmias, namely potentially life-threatening bradyarrhythmias. The long-term repercussions of these nocturnal cardiocirculatory changes on subsequent cardiovascular diseases and the patient's life expectancy are more controversial. There is little doubt that patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) have systemic arterial hypertension, ischemic heart disease, transient ischemic attacks, or stroke more often than control populations and have a shorter life expectancy. However, these clinical manifestations may be at least partly due to myriad other risk factors almost always present in OSAS patients (in particular obesity, diabetes, alcoholism, and cigarette smoking). Few multivariate epidemiological surveys have addressed all these confounding factors. The effectiveness of continuous positive airway pressure treatment in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular comorbidity in OSAS patients is not disputed, even though controlled epidemiological surveys on large populations are scant. This overview of cardiovascular disorders and OSAS examines the latest literature findings aimed at establishing the true impact of nocturnal apneas on cardiocirculatory disease (systemic arterial hypertension, ischemic heart disease, stroke, pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure and mortality).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-224
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Hypertension
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2006


  • Apneas
  • Coronary disease
  • Hypertension
  • Mortality
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Sleep
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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