A Narrative Review of How Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders and Cardiovascular Diseases Are Linked: An Update for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

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Sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBDs), including obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea, are common among patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD), but clinicians often do not pay enough attention to SRBDs. The purpose of this narrative review is to update advanced practice registered nurses on the literature focusing on the relationship between SRBDs and CVD (eg, hypertension, heart failure, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, and stroke) and on treatments that can improve SRBDs in patients with CVD.

Description of the Project:

We conducted an electronic search of the literature published between 1980 and 2016 from PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Web of Science, Academic Search Premier, and related health resource Web sites to address the aims of this study.


Fifty-six primary research articles (42 observational studies and 14 experimental and quasi-experimental studies) were selected based on our study aims and inclusion criteria. The studies revealed that individuals with CVD are at a greater risk for SRBDs and that SRBDs can worsen CVD. The findings from the studies also suggest that positive airway treatment could improve both SRBDs and CVD.


This review found a close relationship between SRBDs and CVD. Advanced practice registered nurses are in key positions to identify and help patients manage SRBDs. In particular, advanced practice registered nurses can educate staff and establish standards of practice to improve outcomes for patients with CVD.

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