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Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea May Be a Risk Factor for Heart Conditions After Surgery

A recent study published in JAMA revealed that individuals with an unknown history of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) were associated with an increased risk for developing postoperative cardiovascular conditions including congestive heart failure, thromboembolism, stroke, cardiac death and atrial fibrillation. The study evaluated patients at risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with no known diagnosis of OSA undergoing noncardiac surgery. After surgery, the patients were monitored. After 30 days, the difference in patients with severe undiagnosed OSA and those without who developed cardiac conditions was statistically significant.

So what does this mean?

Screening for obstructive sleep apnea is crucial and simple. Knowing the risk factors for sleep apnea are important. Do you know the risk factors?

  • Being overweight

  • Having a neck circumference of greater than 17 inches in males and 15 inches in females

  • Having a narrow airway

  • A family history of obstructive sleep apnea

  • Nasal congestion

  • Using sleeping aids or sedatives that may relax the muscles of the oropharynx

  • Smoking

For the full article in JAMA:

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