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Fortschr Med. 1998 Jun 10;116(16):28-31.

[Cardiac arrhythmias in sleep apnea. Increased cardiovascular risk caused by nocturnal arrhythmia?].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Zentrum für Innere Medizin, Universität Marburg.


In sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), the greatest clinical relevance attaches to obstructive sleep apnea on account of its high prevalence and its concomitance with diseases of the cardiovascular system. The high mortality rate of untreated patients is believed to be due to the consequences of these latter diseases. Thus, for example, in addition to systemic arterial hypertension, elevated rates of such disorders as pulmonary hypertension, right heart insufficiency, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction and stroke are also found. Up until quite recently bradycardic and tachycardic arrhythmias occurring during sleep have been held responsible of the increased mortality rate of these patients. Till the mid-eighties the prevalence of bradycardic arrhythmias was reported to be more than 30%. However, the importance of cardiac arrhythmias has been overestimated, as is supported in particular by current studies on large non-selected samples showing a much lower prevalence of apnea-related arrhythmias. In the differential diagnosis, however, consideration must be given to SDB in patients with nocturnal arrhythmias and heart rate variations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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