A study of hospitalized cardiac patients published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine is the first to show that effective treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy reduces 30-day hospital readmission rates and emergency department visits in patients with both heart disease and sleep apnoea.
The US study involved 104 consecutive patients who reported symptoms of sleep apnoea while being hospitalized for a cardiac condition such as heart failure, arrhythmias or myocardial infarction. They were evaluated for sleep apnoea using an in-hospital, portable sleep study.
Results show that 78 percent of the cardiac patients had sleep apnoea. This is in line with numerous other studies have shown that sleep apnoea is highly prevalent in cardiac patients with rates ranging from 30 to 80%. Results showed that none of the cardiac patients with sleep apnoea who had adequate adherence to CPAP therapy were readmitted to the hospital or visited the emergency department for a heart problem within 30 days from discharge.
In contrast, hospital readmission or emergency department visits occurred in 30 percent of cardiac patients with sleep apnoea who had partial CPAP use and 29 percent who did not use CPAP therapy. The authors also noted the potential financial savings that could be found by reducing hospital readmission and length of stay.