Create Account | Sign In: Author or Forum

 
News  |  Journals  |  Conferences  |  Opinion  |  Articles  |  Forums  |  Twitter    
 
Category: Cardiology | Neurology | Emergency Medicine | News

Back to Health News

Does Sleep Apnea Offer Some Protection During Heart Attack?

Last Updated: October 24, 2012.

 

People with the condition seem to suffer less damage to heart from nonfatal attack, researchers suggest

Share |

Comments: (0)

Tell-a-Friend

 

  Related
 
People with the condition seem to suffer less damage to heart from nonfatal attack, researchers suggest.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- In a surprising finding, people with sleep apnea appear to suffer less heart damage during a nonfatal heart attack than those without the condition, researchers report.

In obstructive sleep apnea, a person's breathing is disrupted during sleep because their airway becomes narrowed or blocked, causing pauses or decreases in air flow.

Although the new findings do not contradict the widely accepted view that sleep apnea is a risk factor for heart disease that can lead to a heart attack, they do suggest that obstructive sleep apnea can provide some heart protection in the event of a heart attack, explained lead investigator Dr. Neomi Shah, associate director of the pulmonary sleep lab at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

One heart expert called the finding "intriguing."

"It is counter-intuitive to what we would expect," said Dr. Howard Weintraub, a clinical associate professor in the department of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York City. He theorized that sleep apnea might reduce the damage from heart attack "due to patients [with apnea] being accustomed to lower levels of oxygen in their blood during apneic periods."

In the study, the Montefiore team looked at more than 130 heart attack patients. Their median age was 58, and 35 percent had obstructive sleep apnea.

People with the condition were significantly older than those without it (62 years versus 52 years, on average), the study authors noted in a Montefiore news release.

Patients with obstructive sleep apnea had lower blood levels of Troponin-T, a marker for heart cell death that accurately predicts heart attack severity, and lower levels of an enzyme that indicates injury or stress in heart muscle, the investigators found.

The study was published Oct. 24 in the journal Sleep and Breathing.

Although the study found an association between having sleep apnea and experiencing less heart damage during a nonfatal attack, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Another cardiologist believes the study might have some weaknesses.

"Of the patients screened for the study, only about 1 percent ... were enrolled in the registry; this is a very low number for most studies," noted Dr. Stephen Green, associate chairman of the department of cardiology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.

He also pointed out that the study "says that patients with sleep apnea have smaller heart attacks than those without sleep apnea. It does not say that people with sleep apnea have less heart attacks, and cannot say this."

Weintraub agreed.

"Sleep apnea may potentially result in more frequent, but less damaging, heart attacks," he said. Therefore, he added, "even in light of this information, I would strongly endorse appropriate treatment of sleep apnea."

Green also noted that "the diagnosis of [heart attack] was made by Troponin levels, which may be oversensitive, and especially in patients having breathing problems. It is not clear that heart doctors would consider all of the Troponin elevations to be heart attacks."

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about sleep apnea.

SOURCES: Howard Weintraub, MD, clinical associate professor, department of medicine, Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Stephen J. Green MD, associate chairman, department of cardiology, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY ; Montefiore Medical Center, news release, Oct. 24, 2012

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Previous: Hormone Replacement Therapy: Safe or Not? Next: Health Highlights: Oct. 24, 2012

Reader comments on this article are listed below. Review our comments policy.


Submit your opinion:

Name:

Email:

Location:

URL:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)
 

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

 
     

 advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)

 

 

Useful Sites
MediLexicon
  Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us
Copyright © 2001-2014
Doctors Lounge.
All rights reserved.

Medical Reference:
Diseases | Symptoms
Drugs | Labs | Procedures
Software | Tutorials

Advertising
Links | Humor
Forum Archive
CME | Conferences

Privacy Statement
Terms & Conditions
Editorial Board
About us | Email

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.