A number of studies have confirmed that continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) devices can significantly reduce or eliminate the number of apneas experienced by a patient suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). But until now, fewer studies have examined whether CPAP therapy also has an effect on the serious health conditions that are tied with suffering from OSA, such as heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
Now, a new sleep apnea study conducted by the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health of Flinders University of South Australia and the George Institute for Global Health has found that normal use of CPAP therapy does not change the chance of patients suffering from heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, or atrial fibrillation.
What does this mean for patients with sleep apnea who are using CPAP devices? While more research needs to be conducted regarding CPAP use and heart health, those who engage in CPAP therapy should be aware that just because their apneas are being treated, they may still be at higher risk for heart conditions and adverse heart events.
The Connection Between CPAP Therapy & Cardiovascular Risks
For the sleep apnea study, entitled, “CPAP for Prevention of Cardiovascular Events in Obstructive Sleep Apnea,” scientists studied sleep apnea patients across the world for four years, tracking their sleep apnea symptoms, their CPAP usage, and their instances of heart-related health conditions.
An initial pool of over 15,000 participants were considered, though only about 2,700 completed the study. Patients were eliminated for a number of reasons. The patients who were included in the study:
- Had moderate to severe sleep apnea.
- Were between 45 and 75 years old.
- Had a history of cardiovascular concerns.
- Used their CPAP machines at least three hours on average each night.
- Did not suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness and were not at risk for a fatigue-related accident.
- Did not have congestive heart failure.
The study broke the patients into two distinct groups. The first group did not use a CPAP device and instead were just instructed on how to best manage their sleep apnea without a device–through lifestyle changes and sleep positions. The second group did use and CPAP device and were asked to carefully track their use.
The results of the study found that the incidence of heart-related health issues was almost identical in both groups: over four years, 17% of patients who used CPAP devices suffered a serious heart health issue over four years, while 15.4% of patients who did not use CPAP devices suffered a serious heart health issue over four years.
The sleep apnea study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in August 2016.
Sleep Apnea Surgery At The Surgical Arts Centre
Many of the patients that we see who choose our sleep apnea surgical solution have tried but failed to find success with CPAP therapy. Some report side effects related to the therapy that cancel out the benefits of the device. Some say they simply cannot be compliant with the therapy because of the commitment to wearing a bulky mask and traveling with a bulky machine. Still others worry that CPAP therapy does not fully treat their OSA or aide in eliminating comorbidities.
Bimaxillary advancement surgery is successful in eliminating the symptoms of sleep apnea in 95 percent of our patients–and it is a treatment that is permanent and free of inconvenience. If you are having difficulty with CPAP therapy, or if you are simply looking for a better solution, we invite you to call us today to ask a question, learn more about the surgery, or schedule a consultation: (855) 560-7378.