Study: OSA increases risk of sudden cardiac death

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WASHINGTON – A moderate case of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can significantly increase a person’s risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD), according to a large study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “The prevalence of OSA in Western populations is high and will likely only continue to grow given the obesity epidemic and direct relationship between obesity and sleep apnea,” stated Apoor Gami, MD, lead author of the study and a cardiologist at Midwest Heart Specialists–Advocate Medical Group. The study found that people with sleep apnea more often died suddenly from cardiac causes during the hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the least likely time for SCD among the general populace. Of the 10,071 subjects, who were followed for an average of 5.3 years, 142 patients experienced SCD, with the most common predictors being over 60 years old, having 20 apnea episodes an hour, and having a lowest oxygen saturation level of 78%, according to the study.