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Official Journal of the Italian Society of Thoracic Endoscopy
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Minerva Pneumologica 2003 December;42(4):211-22

language: Italian

Obstructive apneas and respiratory diseases: the overlap syndrome

Cammarella I., Comite P., De Luca N., Paoletti V.


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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA) are a matter of great interest. Both etiopathogenesis and life expectation decrease in subjects with this disease. In fact, there are several causes of apnea (obesity, anatomical structure's abnormality, alcohol, gastroesopha-geal reflux, alteration of respiratory neural drive), but independently of them, it is important to underline that each one induces hypoxia. It seems that hypoxia may be associated with a variety of hematological derangements, cerebral and cardiac complications as pulmonary hypertension, cor pulmonale, rhythm disturbances. The latter is often cause of sudden death. Physicians have to recognize signs and symptoms of an obstructive apnea, but it is very important to suspect this disease even when the classical symptomatology is missing. Particularly, it is important to pay attention to the association between respiratory alteration during sleep and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The association between OSA and COPD is known as overlap syndrome.

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