Screening for obstructive sleep apnoea in cardiac rehabilitation

heart and stethoscope

The Australian Centre for Heart Health (ACHH) and the Australian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association (ACRA) have released a joint position paper on screening for obstructive sleep apnoea in cardiac rehabilitation.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is highly prevalent in acute coronary syndrome patients eligible for enrolment in cardiac rehabilitation programmes. This condition is an independent predictor of increased morbidity and comorbid conditions in the general population and can lead to an increase in major adverse cardiac events such as revascularization, heart failure and hospital readmission in cardiac patients. There is convincing evidence that treatments such as continuous positive airway pressure or mandibular advancement devices can successfully treat obstructive sleep apnoea and these conditions can be improved or negated resulting in improved cardiac rehabilitation outcomes and improved health-related quality of life.

Given the potential benefits of obstructive sleep apnoea treatment, the ACHH and ACRA endorse screening for this condition upon entry to out-patient cardiac rehabilitation programmes. A two-stage approach to screening is recommended, where patients are initially evaluated for the probability of having obstructive sleep apnoea using a brief questionnaire (The STOP-Bang) and then followed up with objective evaluation (portable home monitor or polysomnography) where necessary.

Potential barriers to further referral and treatment could be partly mitigated by the training of cardiac rehabilitation staff in sleep disorders and screening.

The full position paper can be accessed here.

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