Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA) | ResMed
Central Sleep Apnoea

Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA)

Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA) is the least common type of sleep apnoea.1 Scientists say that less than 20 percent of all cases of sleep apnoea1 are diagnosed as CSA.

Unlike Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, Central Sleep Apnoea can occur while your airway is clear. CSA means you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more during sleep because your brain fails to send signals for your body to inhale. 

The most common type of Central Sleep Apnoea is Cheyne Stokes Respiration (CSR), which is often associated with heart failure. Find out more about CSR.

People with CSA don’t often snore, so the condition sometimes goes unnoticed. Discover the symptoms of CSA on our dedicated ResMed page.

What causes Central Sleep Apnoea? 

Central Sleep Apnoea can be caused by heart failure, or a disease or injury involving the brain, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Brain tumour
  • Viral brain infection
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Neurological diseases

Certain painkillers like morphine, codeine and oxycodone can lead to irregular breathing patterns or a pause in breathing.

At very high altitudes above 4500 metres, you can experience breathing problems during sleep. For example you may suffer from Cheyne-Stokes Respiration (CSR) or irregular shallow and over breathing, hyperventilation (rapid breathing) and hypoventilation (under breathing). These conditions usually disappear when you regain normal altitude.

Sometimes, the cause of Central Sleep Apnoea is unknown, making it an idiopathic CSA. 

Who does CSA affect?

Although anyone can develop Central Sleep Apnoea, certain factors can put you at increased risk, including obesity, gender and age. Men are more likely to develop CSA than women2. In addition, Central Sleep Apnoea is more common in older people. 

Talk to your doctor about getting a sleep test if you’re feeling tired, can’t sleep properly and find yourself waking up suddenly with choking sounds. Discover our ResMed treatment options available for CSA to help you breathe, sleep and rest better.


  1. American Sleep Apnea Association: “Central Sleep Apnea.” 
  2. Mayo Clinic:“Central sleep apnea: risk factors.”