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Editorials |

Obstructive Sleep ApneaObstructive Sleep Apnea: The Elephant in the Room: The Elephant in the Cardiovascular Room

Jessie P. Bakker, PhD; Bhavneesh Sharma, MD; Atul Malhotra, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From the Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

Correspondence to: Jessie P. Bakker, PhD, Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, 221 Longwood Ave, 036 BLI, Boston, MA 02115; e-mail: jpbakker@partners.org


Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The authors have reported to CHEST the following conflicts of interest: Dr Malhotra has consulting and research income from the National Institutes of Health (NIH); American Heart Association (AHA); Philips Respironics Inc; Apnex Medical Inc; Apnicure, Inc; Sleep Group Solutions; Sleep HealthCenters; Ethicon, Inc; Medtronic, Inc; Pfizer Inc; Merck & Co, Inc; Sepracor; Cephalon, Inc; and Galleon Pharmaceuticals. Dr Malhotra is the principal investigator for NIH R01 HL085188, NIH R01 HL090897, NIH K24 HL 093218, NIH P01 HL 095491, NIH R01 AG035117, and AHA 0840159N. Drs Bakker and Sharma have reported that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2012;141(3):580-581. doi:10.1378/chest.11-2178
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Extract

Despite considerable advances in the relatively young field of sleep research, the importance of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) remains underappreciated. A vast body of evidence based on animal,1 human cross-sectional and longitudinal research,2 and interventional studies3 suggests that OSA is associated with significant cardiovascular risk factors. In addition, new therapeutic targets are needed in the cardiovascular arena given that improvements in outcomes have plateaued in many studies. Unfortunately, however, OSA remains the “elephant in the room” and often is ignored even in high-risk patients. A telling example comes from the diabetes field, with recent data indicating that 86% of obese patients with type 2 diabetes also experience clinically significant OSA,4 with < 5% of these patients receiving OSA treatment 1 year after both the patient and his or her primary physician have received the diagnosis.5

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