Sleep apnea, defined as a pathologic pause in breathing during sleep >10 s, promotes the progression of chronic heart failure and may be a predictor of poor prognosis. It causes, in fact, several mechanical, hemodynamic, chemical and inflammatory changes that negatively compromise cardiovascular homeostasis of heart failure patients. Sleep apnea is recognized as sleep apnea syndrome when specific symptoms, such as sleepiness and headache during the daytime and snoring, are present and is diagnosed with an overnight test called polysomnography. There are two different forms of sleep apnea, central and obstructive. Breathing is interrupted by the loss of respiratory drive and the lack of respiratory effort in the central form, which affects about 40-60% of heart failure patients. In obstructive sleep apnea, breathing stops when throat muscles relax, despite respiratory effort. This form affects about 3% of the general population, while it is present in at least 30% of heart failure patients. The diagnosis of sleep disorders in heart failure becomes very important to help patients adopting lifestyle changes and starting specific therapies to improve quality of life and retard the progression of chronic heart failure.
|Translated title of the contribution||Sleep apnea and heart failure: Pathophysiology, diagnosis and therapy|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Giornale Italiano di Cardiologia|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2010|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine