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72% of patients who have experienced a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) also have sleep-disordered breathing (SDB),1 which is sometimes undiagnosed. SDB is associated with worse functional outcomes following stroke, so investigation of stroke should also include screening for SDB3. Obstructive sleep apnoea is an independent risk factor for stroke and it has been suggested that in patients with moderate to severe OSA and ischaemic stroke that CPAP therapy lowers their risk of mortality.2,4
Patients with SDB experience symptoms that may predispose them to stroke. Primary amongst these are;
People with SDB may be predisposed to stroke through a number of symptoms they experience.
Patients with both SDB and stroke can negatively affect their rehabilitation and it associated with:
Recognising SDB in stroke survivors is often challenging because the symptoms associated with SDB are often attributed to stroke. A complete sleep history from your patient’s family members may help determine whether SDB was present prior to the stroke or developed after the stroke.
Martínez-García MA, et al. Continuous positive airway pressure treatment reduces mortality in patients with ischemic stroke and obstructive sleep apnea: a 5-year follow-up study. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2009, 180(1):36-41.
Am J Resp crit care med 2005 Michael Arzt, Terry Young, Laurel Finn, James B. Skatrud, and T. Douglas Bradley http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.200505-702OC
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