Study: Higher risk of cardiac events in sleep disorder patients post-PCI

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After undergoing PCI, patients could be at a higher risk for heart attack, heart failure, stroke or death if they have sleep-disordered breathing, such as sleep apnea.

The study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association notes sleep apnea and snoring have long been known as important risk factors for heart disease, but little research had been done into how those same sleep disorders may predict heart events after PCI.

Researchers monitored the breathing of 241 patients overnight after their PCI and then continued tracking relevant health events, like recurrent acute coronary syndrome or hospital readmissions for heart failure, for an additional five years.

Of those 241 patients:

  • 52.3 percent had sleep-disordered breathing.
  • 21.4 percent of those with sleep-disordered breathing had major cardiovascular events.
  • 7.8 percent of those without sleep disordered breathing had major cardiovascular events.

“Our findings suggest that sleep-disordered breathing is an important risk factor for stroke, heart failure and more after PCI for acute coronary syndrome,” said lead study author Toru Mazaki, MD, chief physician of the Department of Cardiology at Japan's Kobe Central Hospital. “Doctors and patients should consider sleep studies post-PCI to rule out sleep-disordered breathing or take necessary precautions to restore healthy breathing during sleep.”

The study’s limitations include the use of a portable monitoring system, instead of placing post-PCI patients in a fully-equipped sleep lab. Mazaki suggests such a study with PCI patients may be difficult.

He recommends further research with a randomized trial of a larger number of patients, rather than limiting the study to one center, to provide more information on how post-PCI sleep-disordered breathing may inform clinical care after acute coronary events.