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This study investigated whether abnormal cardiac sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) is associated with the severity of central sleep apnoea (CSA) and whether adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) therapy can improve cardiac SNA in heart failure (HF) patients with predominant CSA.Overnight polysomnography was conducted to diagnose CSA. Cardiac SNA was analysed by [123I]metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy in 26 consecutive HF patients with predominant CSA. Of the 26 patients, 10 agreed to ASV therapy. Cardiac SNA was analysed 6 months after initiating ASV based on a non-randomized protocol. The apnoea–hypopnoea index and central apnoea index were significantly correlated with the washout rate (WR) and a delayed heart to mediastinal (H/M) ratio, suggesting that SNA is associated with abnormal breathing patterns. The WR, H/M ratio, plasma BNP level, and LVEF were significantly improved (WR, 40.0 ± 11.6% vs. 34.6 ± 11.4%, P = 0.046; H/M ratio, 1.5 ± 0.1 vs.1.8 ± 0.3, P = 0.013; ln BNP, 5.4 ± 1.0 vs. 4.6 ± 1.2, P = 0.007; and LVEF, 43.8 ± 10.4% vs. 47.0 ± 10.6%, P < 0.001) in the ASV group patients, but not in the non-ASV group patients. Multiple linear regression analyses showed that a decreased WR was strongly associated with an increased LVEF (coefficient = –0.454, P = 0.013).Abnormal cardiac SNA could be significantly correlated with the severity of CSA in HF patients. ASV therapy might improve cardiac function in these patients by partially mediating cardiac SNA regulation.