Apnea: 'Sleeping Gun' in Sudden Death?

Obstructive sleep apnea may place adults at a greater risk for sudden cardiac death, researchers found.

After adjustment for other risk factors, each 10% decrease in the lowest nocturnal oxygen saturation among adults undergoing a first-time polysomnogram for suspected sleep-disordered breathing was associated with a 14% greater risk of sudden cardiac death or resuscitated cardiac arrest (HR 1.14, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.27), according to Virend Somers, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues.

Sleep factors associated with a significantly greater likelihood of remaining free from sudden cardiac death or resuscitated cardiac arrest included an apnea-hypopnea index of less than 20 events per hour (HR 1.60, 95% CI 1.14-2.24), a mean nocturnal oxygen saturation of 93% or higher (HR 2.93, 95% CI 1.98-4.33), and a lowest nocturnal oxygen saturation of 78% or higher (HR 1.81, 95% CI 1.28-2.56), the researchers reported online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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