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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2003 Jul 16;136(2-3):153-65.

Sleep-disordered breathing in heart failure: characteristics and implications.

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  • 1Research Center, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur. S400, boul. Gouin Ouest, QC H4J ICS, Montréal, Canada.


Sleep-disordered breathing, namely obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA), are both often encountered in the setting of heart failure (HF), and have distinct differences in terms of prevalence, pathophysiology and consequences. OSA is independently associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and for congestive HF in the general population. It is conceivable that this breathing disorder may have particularly deleterious effects in patients with coexisting heart disease, especially in those with a failing heart. There are considerable data addressing the interaction between OSA and the cardiovascular system, which underscore the importance of an early detection of this breathing disorder, especially in patients with HF. CSA is generally considered a consequence rather than a cause of HF, and is correlated with the severity of hemodynamic impairment. However, when present, it is associated with increased arrhythmic risk and higher cardiac mortality. Potential mechanisms implicated in the genesis of this breathing pattern and the possible therapeutic options, which have been proven to be effective in the clinical setting, are discussed.

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