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Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease

Robert W. Peters, MD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Baltimore, MD
 ,  Dr. Peters is Professor of Medicine, Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Chief of Cardiology, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Correspondence to: Robert W. Peters, MD, Cardiology Section 4D 129A, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 10 North Greene St, Baltimore, MD 21201; e-mail: Robert. peters2@med.va.gov.



Chest. 2005;127(1):1-3. doi:10.1378/chest.127.1.1
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Sleep-disordered breathing is a common condition affecting up to 9% of middle-aged women and 24% of middle-aged men.1 It often interferes with sleep and is a major cause of daytime somnolence, affecting quality of life and having a major impact on the workplace. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the more serious clinical manifestations of sleep-disordered breathing. OSA is typically caused by intermittent airway obstruction (due to weakness of the pharyngeal musculature with resultant collapse of the airway), interfering with normal inspiration. The increased inspiratory effort leads to labored breathing and may profoundly disturb sleep due to frequent and abrupt awakenings as the individual struggles to breathe.2 Total collapse of the airway with complete obstruction for periods of ≥ 10 s is considered obstructive apnea, while partial airway obstruction (30 to 99%) associated with ≥ 4% arterial desaturation is termed obstructive hypopnea.

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