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Heart Vessels. 2017 Aug;32(8):909-915. doi: 10.1007/s00380-017-0951-1. Epub 2017 Feb 11.

Patients with Cheyne-Stokes respiration and heart failure: patient tolerance after three-month discontinuation of treatment with adaptive servo-ventilation.

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The Hospital of Østfold, Fredrikstad, Norway.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
The Hospital of Østfold, Fredrikstad, Norway.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Cardiology and Center for Cardiological Innovation, Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway.


The recent SERVE HF study concluded that patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) and Cheyne-Stokes respiration (CSR) have increased mortality when treated with adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV). We, therefore, wanted to explore if these patients tolerated discontinuation of ASV treatment. The study was a prospective post-ASV treatment observational design with a 3-month follow-up period. 14 patients from our outpatient clinic, all male, were originally diagnosed with CHF and Cheyne-Stokes respiration, which is a clinical form of central sleep apnea. Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was ≤45% when ASV treatment was initiated. Median machine use was 68 (42-78) months when the patients were instructed to terminate ASV treatment. The patients were then followed during conventional CHF treatment for 3 months. Study baseline was set the last ASV treatment day. Sleep data were collected from the machine the last day of use. Apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), LVEF, 6-min walk test and 24-h ambulatory electrocardiogram recordings were performed at baseline and at study end. Life quality data were obtained using The Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionaire (MLHFQ). New York Heart Association Functional Classification (NYHA) was registered. An ambulatory sleep screening was performed at study end. AHI increased significantly after 3 months without ASV treatment [from 1.6 (0.8-3.2) to 39.2 (24.3-44.1, p = 0.001)]. Quality of life (QOL) decreased significantly: 30 (13-54) at discontinuation of ASV vs. 46 (24-67) (MLHFQ) at study end, p = 0.04. Though there was no significant change in NYHA functional class, patients especially reported increased shortness of breath, reduced concentration and reduced memory after discontinuation of ASV treatment. There were no significant differences in LVEF, heart rhythm data and physical capacity. Left ventricular function was preserved indicating that discontinuation of ASV in heart failure patients does not affect cardiac capacity. There was a significant decrement in QOL that must be considered in further treatment of these patients.


Adaptive servo-ventilation; Cheyne–Stokes respiration; Chronic heart failure; Left ventricular function

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