Sleep apnoea and the heart

Patrick Lévy, Silke Ryan, Olaf Oldenburg, Gianfranco Parati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sleep apnoea is associated with significant daytime functioning impairment and marked cardiovascular morbidities, leading to a significant increase in mortality. Sympathetic activation, oxidative stress and systemic inflammation have been shown to be the main intermediary mechanisms associated with sleep apnoea and intermittent hypoxia. There are now convincing data regarding the association between hypertension, arrhythmias, coronary heart disease, heart failure, increased cardiovascular mortality and sleep apnoea. This has been evidenced in sleep apnoea patients and is supported by experimental data obtained in intermittent hypoxia. Whether treating sleep apnoea enables chronic cardiovascular consequences to be reversed is not fully established as regard coronary heart disease, arrhythmias and heart failure. In this late condition, complex bidirectional relationships occur, with obstructive sleep apnoea being a risk factor for heart failure whilst central sleep apnoea mainly appears as a consequence of heart failure. It remains to be established in adequately designed studies, i.e. large randomised controlled trials, whether treating sleep apnoea can improve heart failure morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-352
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Respiratory Review
Issue number129
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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