Awareness of the importance of sleep-related disorders in patients with cardiovascular diseases is growing. In particular, sleep-disordered breathing, short sleep time, and low sleep quality are frequently reported by patients with heart failure (HF). Sleep-disordered breathing, which includes obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and central sleep apnoea (CSA), is common in patients with HF and has been suggested to increase the morbidity and mortality in these patients. Both OSA and CSA are associated with increased sympathetic activation, vagal withdrawal, altered haemodynamic loading conditions, and hypoxaemia. Moreover, OSA is strongly associated with arterial hypertension, the most common risk factor for cardiac hypertrophy and failure. Intrathoracic pressure changes are also associated with OSA, contributing to haemodynamic alterations and potentially affecting overexpression of genes involved in ventricular remodelling. HF treatment can decrease the severity of both OSA and CSA. Indeed, furosemide and spironolactone administration, exercise training, cardiac resynchronization therapy, and eventually heart transplantation have shown a positive effect on OSA and CSA in patients with HF. At present, whether CSA should be treated and, if so, which is the optimal therapy is still debated. By contrast, more evidence is available on the beneficial effects of OSA treatment in patients with HF.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine