The Management of Co-Morbidities in Patients with Heart Failure – Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Andrew Coats


Heart failure (HF) patients are older and frequently present with multiple co-morbidities. Co- morbidities worsen patient symptoms and may contribute to the progression of heart failure, increase mortality or limit the therapeutic response to treatment. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) affects 2–4% of the adult population world-wide and is associated with similar risk factors to HF, meaning it is a frequent finding in HF patients, including HFrEF, HFmrEF and HFpEF. OSA has consistently been shown to be associated with hypertension, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, heart failure, and stroke. A thorough understanding of the diagnosis and treatment options of OSA is of paramount importance to the practising HF clinician. Patients may present to the HF specialist having been diagnosed by a formal sleep study or may be suspected of OSA because of symptoms of snoring, reports of obstructed breathing by the sleep partner or day-time sleepiness. The mainstay of treatment for OSA is a positive airway pressure mask which can be used in mild moderate and severe OSA. The need for therapy should be discussed with the patient and if the AHI is above 15/hr then treatment is indicated to reduce this to below 15. This is a consensus recommendation and no adequately powered clinical trials have shown this improves either mortality or the risk of disease progression. Other options are discussed

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