Sleep-disordered Breathing in Heart Failure

Article on Sleep-disordered Breathing in Heart Failure

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Sleep-disordered breathing affects over half of patients with heart failure (HF) and is associated with a poor prognosis. It is an under-diagnosed condition and may be a missed therapeutic target. Obstructive sleep apnoea is caused by collapse of the pharynx, exacerbated by rostral fluid shift during sleep. The consequent negative intrathoracic pressure, hypoxaemia, sympathetic nervous system activation and arousals have deleterious cardiovascular effects. Treatment with continuous positive airway pressure may confer symptomatic and prognostic benefit in this group. In central sleep apnoea, the abnormality is with regulation of breathing in the brainstem, often causing a waxing-waning Cheyne Stokes respiration pattern. Non-invasive ventilation has not been shown to improve prognosis in these patients and the recently published SERVE-HF trial found increased mortality in those treated with adaptive servoventilation. The management of sleep-disordered breathing in patients with HF is evolving rapidly with significant implications for clinicians involved in their care.


Simon G Pearse -  Organization: Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust and Imperial College London

Martin R Cowie - Professor of Cardiology 

Rakesh Sharma -  Organization: Cardiology Department, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK; National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, UK

Ali Vazir - Consultant in Cardiology and Critical Care 

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