Cardiovascular consequences of obstructive sleep apnea

Clin Chest Med. 2003 Jun;24(2):195-205. doi: 10.1016/s0272-5231(03)00020-0.


Sleep apnea is associated with several cardiovascular disease conditions. A causal relationship between sleep apnea and each of these diseases is likely, but remains to be proven. The clearest evidence implicating OSA in the development of new cardiovascular disease involves data that show an increased prevalence of new hypertension in patients with OSA followed over 4 years [3]. Circumstantial evidence and data from small study samples suggest that OSA, in the setting of existing cardiovascular disease, may exacerbate symptoms and accelerate disease progression. The diagnosis of OSA always should be considered in patients with refractory heart failure, resistant hypertension, nocturnal cardiac ischemia, and nocturnal arrhythmias, especially in individuals with risk factors for sleep apnea (e.g., central obesity, age, and male gender). Treating sleep apnea may help to achieve better clinical control in these diseases and may improve long-term cardiovascular prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Cardiovascular System / physiopathology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy