Sleep apnea in chronic heart failure

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Abstract

Purpose of review

As heart failure continues to carry significant morbidity and mortality it is crucial to pursue new lines of therapy. Addressing sleep apnea, which is highly prevalent in these patients, offers just such an avenue. We discuss how sleep apnea may contribute to the propagation of heart failure, and how understanding its effects and reversing these effects might benefit heart failure patients.

Recent findings

Continuous positive airway pressure ventilation, atrial pacing, and chronic resynchronization therapy have all been studied in sleep apnea. Some of these therapies have shown benefits in heart failure. This offers hope for improved outcomes, particularly with respect to mortality. Delineating how these therapies affect the heart's energetics and metabolism may also provide further understanding of the relationship between sleep apnea and heart failure.

Summary

As both obstructive and central sleep apnea are highly prevalent in heart failure, treating these patients with continuous positive airway pressure, atrial pacing, or chronic resynchronization therapy may offer morbidity and mortality benefits. Much remains to be understood about the relationship between sleep apnea and heart failure, and understanding the interaction between the two at both the myocardial and clinical level is crucial.

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