Heart Failure affects approximately 5 million Americans and is associated with repeated hospitalizations and increased mortality. Studies have shown that the prevalence of Heart Failure increases significantly with age. The same is true for Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB). This may lead to a vicious cycle between SDB and Heart Failure.
In Snoring and Sleep Apnea, sleep is frequently interrupted because of the associated drops in blood oxygen supply and increased negative pressures in the chest and around the heart.
Restful sleep is characterized by lower blood pressure and decreased heart rate. This is not the case in those with untreated Sleep Apnea.
The arousals from sleep can cause increases in blood pressure and acute surges in heart rate and arrhythmias. The frequent sleep disruptions also lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, diminished vigilance throughout the day and reduced quality of life. Ventricular arrhythmias and pump failure are two major causes of death in Heart Failure.
Treating Sleep Apnea with Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) devices has been shown to reduce the number of arrhythmias, maintain blood oxygen supply, and improve daytime sleepiness. More importantly, survival may be improved with PAP therapy as it may decrease the number of ventricular arrhythmias and improve ejection fraction in patients with Heart Failure.