Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Public Release: 7-Dec-2016
Sleep apnea can contribute to recurring pulmonary embolism
Suffering from sleep apnea can put patients at an increased risk for multiple emboli, according to a new study in the Dec. issue of CHEST
Elsevier Health Sciences
Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a major risk for patients suffering from venous thromboembolism (VTE) and can often be fatal. While advanced age, lack of exercise, and obesity all contribute to PE, it has been hypothesized that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may also promote the formation of blood clots. Because VTE is a chronic condition with reoccurring episodes of PE, researchers wanted to examine how OSA affected the rate of repeat PE occurrence. They found that after the first PE, OSA increases the risk for PE recurrence. Their results are published in the December issue of CHEST.
Patients who have had one PE have a 30% chance of having another episode and recurring PE carries a 9% mortality rate. While anticoagulants are very effective at decreasing the possibility of PE, their use comes with an increased risk of bleeding.
"There is growing evidence from cross-sectional and longitudinal studies that obstructive sleep apnea is a risk factor for pulmonary embolism," explained lead investigator Alberto Alonso-Fernández, MD, PhD, Hospital Universitario Son Espases, Palma de Mallorca, Spain. "This association represents a major public health burden, given the high prevalence of both disorders and the mortality rates of PE. However, to our knowledge, no longitudinal studies to date have explored the role of OSA as a risk factor for recurrent thromboembolic events."
The study followed 120 patients for five to eight years after their first occurrence of PE.
During the study, their sleep was monitored for signs of OSA. Investigators found that 19 of the patients had recurrent PE during the follow-up period and of those 19 patients, 16 of them suffered from OSA.