Heart Failure and Central Sleep Apnea

September 30th, 2010

Central sleep apnea is characterized by the temporary absence of a signal to breathe from the brains respiratory center. When this happens, there is not any effort to breathe made by the individual.

Any sort of sleep disordered breathing is a major illness that impacts the center and full cardiovascular system. There is evidence to reveal that, in persons with heart failure, there is a high incidence of sleep disordered breathing. Most frequently that disorder being obstructive or central sleep apnea.

When a patient with heart failure has central sleep apnea (CSA) they usually also exhibit a kind of breathing called Cheyne-Stokes respiration (CSR). CSR is associated with severe dysfunction of the left ventricle of the center and patients with CSR are in a high risk category for cardiac transplantation.

Patients with CSA and Cheynes-Stokes Respirations have an overly poor prognosis. There is data available that shows that survival rates decrease by 50% in patients with heart failure and CSA.

Various methods were used to treat CSA – oxygen therapy, CPAP, BiLevel ventilation and, most recently, Adaptive Ventilatory Support (ASV).

There had been some longer term advantages found by treating patients with central sleep apnea and CSR with ASV. There were fewer respiratory disturbances when a patient is asleep and in addition improved sleep quality.

The conventional PAP therapies like CPAP and BIPAP have shown mixed ends up in managing patients with central sleep apnea and CSR. A unit like the Resmed VPAP Adapt SV is the first PAP device cleared by the FDA to treat central sleep apnea and CSR inside the home environment.

ASV therapy has demonstrated the power to improve clinical outcomes and the quality of life in heart failure patients.