Fast Five Quiz: Obstructive Sleep Apnea Key Aspects

Zab Mosenifar, MD


November 21, 2019

Patients with severe sleep-disordered breathing have a two- to fourfold increased risk of experiencing nocturnal complex arrhythmia. Bradyarrhythmia is more common in OSA patients (occurring in approximately 10% of OSA patients), especially during the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep state and when a greater than 4% drop in oxygen saturation occurs.

Systemic hypertension is observed in 50%-70% of patients with OSA. Several large cross-sectional studies have demonstrated that OSA is a risk factor for developing hypertension, independent of obesity, age, alcohol intake, and smoking. Antihypertensive drug treatment does not improve OSA; however, clonidine, which is an REM sleep suppressant, may improve OSA indirectly by reducing the patient's percentage of REM sleep because the REM sleep is when OSA is most severe.

OSA has not been established as a cause of heart failure, and whether it hastens death in patients with heart failure is uncertain.

For more on the presentation of OSA, read here.


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