Obstructive Sleep Apnea treated with CPAP reduced Mortality for Stroke Patients

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[Best Syndication News] Patients that suffered a stroke and had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) benefited using the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) by reducing the risk of death. This data was reported in a study that was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"Our results suggest that patients with ischemic stroke and moderate to severe OSA showed an increased mortality risk," reported the lead author, Miguel Angel Martínez-García, M.D., of Requena General Hospital in Valencia, Spain. "CPAP treatment, although tolerated by only a small percentage of patients, is associated with a reduction in this excess risk and achieves a mortality [rate] similar to patients without OSA or with mild disease."

In the study the researchers found 166 patients from Requena General Hospital that had suffered an ischemic stroke and also were diagnosed with sleep apnea which were determined by a sleep study. The mean age for the study patients were 73.3 years old. Out of these patients, CPAP treatment was given to 96 patients that had sleep apnea hypopnea index score of over 20 – this is considered a moderate to severe OSA diagnosis. Then the researchers followed up for a five year period to during regular intervals and watched for any new cardiovascular events, whether the patients were using their CPAP equipment, or if there was a death.

At the end of five years, there were 48.8 percent of the patients that have died. The CPAP group saw only 28 out of 96 continue using the CPAP equipment. They adjusted for possible variables that could affect the data such as age, gender, co-morbidities and current smoking. The researchers report that there was a 1.6 times increased risk of death with those that did not use the CPAP machine while sleeping compared to those that were using the equipment. They add that those using the CPAP to help them breath at night had similar risk of death of those without sleep apnea or those with only a mild OSA diagnosis.

The researchers suggest that the patients that didn't keep up with the CPAP equipment may have also be worse at following orders for other types of treatments for cardiovascular prevention which may have contributed to the higher risk of death.

"Our results suggest that moderate to severe OSA in patients with stroke has an unfavorable effect on long-term mortality. CPAP treatment is associated with a reduction in this excess risk," summarized Dr. Martínez-García report.
More research on a wider scope and longer term basis needs to be completed to solidify this initial study of stroke patients and CPAP therapy and risk of death after having a stroke.

By: Marlene Donor

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