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Daytime Sleepiness from Apnea Linked to Heart Problems

Obstructive sleep apnea and daytime sleepiness associated with increased risk of impaired heart function

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Daytime sleepiness caused by nighttime obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risk for cardiovascular problems, according to study findings published in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Sleep.

Joel Dimsdale, M.D., from the University of California San Diego, and colleagues conducted an observational study of 86 patients suspected of having obstructive sleep apnea, to assess the relationship between daytime sleepiness and cardiac performance.

Subjects confirmed to have sleep apnea by polysomnography and who reported higher daytime sleepiness had lower stroke and cardiac index scores, measured by impedance cardiography. The relationship remained even after adjustment for age, sex, ethnicity, respiratory disturbance index and mean sleep oxygen saturation.

"The 'sleepiness' in patients with obstructive sleep apnea may not just reflect sleep deprivation, but may also be a harbinger of impaired cardiac hemodynamics," the authors conclude.

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