MONDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Almost 60 percent of cardiac patients treated with pacemakers have undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea, according to a report in the March 12 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Stéphane Garrigue, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Bordeaux and Grenoble in Grenoble, France, and colleagues investigated the prevalence and consequences of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea in 98 patients with pacemakers. Patients were screened for apnea with polysomnography and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.

Overall, 59 percent of the patients had sleep apnea, and 21.4 percent had severe sleep apnea. There was a higher prevalence of sleep apnea among patients with sinus node dysfunction and atrioventricular blocks, when compared to patients paced for heart failure.

Whether treating the underlying apnea would have affected the need for a pacemaker is unknown, but "the suggestion is to search for sleep apnea in patients requiring pacemaker implantation or currently treated by pacemakers [and] this is still recommended in patients with very few symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing," the study authors conclude.

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Denise Mann

Updated on June 12, 2022

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