Sleep disordered breathing in patients with acute coronary syndromes

J Clin Sleep Med. 2012 Feb 15;8(1):21-6. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.1652.


Study objectives: Although the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) is high in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS), there is little knowledge about the persistence of OSAHS in ACS patients after the acute event. We aimed to assess the prevalence and time course of OSAHS in patients with ACS during and after the acute cardiac event.

Methods: Fifty-two patients with first-ever ACS, underwent attended overnight polysomnography (PSG) in our sleep center on the third day after the acute event. In patients with an apnea hypopnea index (AHI) > 10/h, we performed a follow up PSG 1 and 6 months later.

Results: Twenty-eight patients (54%) had an AHI > 10/h. There was a significant decrease in AHI 1 month after the acute event (13.9 vs. 19.7, p = 0.001), confirming the diagnosis of OSAHS in 22 of 28 patients (79%). At 6-month follow-up, the AHI had decreased further (7.5 vs. 19.7, p < 0.05), and at that time only 6 of the 28 patients (21%) were diagnosed as having OSAHS. Twelve of the 16 current smokers stopped smoking after the acute event.

Conclusions: We have demonstrated a high prevalence of OSAHS in ACS patients, which did not persist 6 months later, indicating that, to some degree, OSAHS may be transient and related with the acute phase of the underlying disease or the reduction in the deleterious smoking habit.

Keywords: Acute coronary syndromes; obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome; polysomnography.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / complications*
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology