Central sleep apnea: misunderstood and mistreated!

F1000Res. 2019 Jun 28:8:F1000 Faculty Rev-981. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.18358.1. eCollection 2019.


Central sleep apnea is prevalent in patients with heart failure, healthy individuals at high altitudes, and chronic opiate users and in the initiation of "mixed" (that is, central plus obstructive apneas). This brief review focuses on (a) the causes of repetitive, cyclical central apneas as mediated primarily through enhanced sensitivities in the respiratory control system and (b) treatment of central sleep apnea through modification of key components of neurochemical control as opposed to the current universal use of positive airway pressure.

Keywords: Heart failure; hypoxic exposure; loop gain; opioid use; positive airway pressure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Altitude
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Heart Failure
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory System
  • Sleep Apnea, Central / etiology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Central / therapy*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive


  • Analgesics, Opioid