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Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 1999 June;47(6):195-202

Copyright © 1999 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English, Italian

Acute cardiovascular diseases and respiratory sleep disorders

Conte G., Rigon N., Perrone A., Lauro S.


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Respiratory sleep disorders are a risk factor, sometimes independent, for acute cardiovascular diseases which are the most frequent cause of death among populations of industrialized countries. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are generally involved, while the pathogenetic role of acute exacerbation of COPD seems less evident. The most important acute cardiovascular events related to sleep respiratory disorders are angina pectoris, acute myocardial infarction, cardiac arrhythmias (in some instances as paroxysmal attacks), systemic hypertension with hypertensive crisis, ischemic stroke. A respiratory sleep disorder should be suspected in all obeses, cigarette smokers, alcoholics, hypertensives, who present symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, where snoring may be a marker, and in patients with COPD. The diagnosis is readily established by performing polysomnography and, when needed, by 24 hour Holter monitoring and blood pressure ambulatory recording. Therapy aims at correcting risk factors with particular attention to weight reduction in obese patients. Furthermore, upper airway anatomic abnormalities should be eliminated. In obstructive sleep apnea, nasal continuous positive airway pressure during sleep is to be used, when necessary, while tracheostomy must be performed only in more severe cases.

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