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Clin Chest Med. 2003 Jun;24(2):207-22.

Heart failure and sleep apnea: emphasis on practical therapeutic options.

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  • 1Sleep Disorders Laboratory, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45220, USA.


Heart failure is a highly prevalent problem associated with excess morbidity and mortality and economic impact. Because of increased average life span, improved therapy of ischemic coronary artery disease and hypertension, the incidence and prevalence of heart failure will continue to rise into the twenty-first century. Multiple factors may contribute to the progressively declining course of heart failure. One such cause could be the occurrence of repetitive episodes of apnea, hypopnea, and hyperpnea, which frequently occur in patients with heart failure. Episodes of apnea, hypopnea, and hyperpnea cause sleep disruption, arousals, intermittent hypoxemia, hypercapnia, hypocapnia, and changes in intrathoracic pressure. These pathophysiologic consequences of sleep-related breathing disorders have deleterious effects on cardiovascular system, and the effects may be most pronounced in the setting of established heart failure and coronary artery disease. Diagnosis and treatment of sleep-related breathing disorders may improve morbidity and mortality of patients with heart failure [34]. Large-scale, carefully executed therapeutic studies are needed to determine if treatment of sleep-related breathing disorders changes the natural history of left ventricular failure.

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