Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Sleep Apnea Health Center

Font Size

Sleep Apnea May Spur Night Heart Attacks

Obstructive Sleep Apnea May Trigger Nighttime Heart Attacks
By
WebMD Health News

July 21, 2008 -- Obstructive sleep apnea may make nighttime heart attacks more likely than daytime heart attacks, a new study shows.

In obstructive sleep apnea, the upper airway becomes completely or partially blocked, interrupting regular breathing, several times per night.

The new study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, recommends that people who have heart attacks while sleeping at night be screened for obstructive sleep apnea.

The study included 92 people who had recently had a heart attack.

The patients reported what time their heart attack symptoms started. They also took part in a sleep study about 17 days after their heart attack. The sleep study showed that 64 patients had obstructive sleep apnea.

The patients with and without sleep apnea were pretty similar in their backgrounds and medication use. But the timing of their heart attacks was different.

The patients with obstructive sleep apnea were six times more likely to have had their heart attack between midnight and 6 a.m. than during the rest of the day. In contrast, the patients without sleep apnea were more likely to have had their heart attack between 6 a.m. and noon.

Obstructive sleep apnea "may be a trigger" for heart attacks, write the researchers, who included the Mayo Clinic's Fatima Kuniyoshi, PhD. Kuniyoshi's team calls for further studies to see if obstructive sleep apnea treatment reduces heart attack risk, especially at night.

Today on WebMD

Sleep Disorders What Are They
SLIDESHOW
Man sleeping on plane
SLIDESHOW
 
Sleep Fact or Fiction Test Yourself
QUIZ
Woman asleep with cpap mask on.
ARTICLE
 
Pet scan depression
VIDEO
Nighttime Heartburn
SLIDESHOW
 
Fight Fatigue Sleepiness On The Road
SLIDESHOW
Sleep Apnea Appliance
VIDEO
 
Foods That Help Or Harm Your Sleep
SLIDESHOW
Sleep Apnea Clues
FEATURE
 
Insomnia 20 Tips For Better Sleep
SLIDESHOW
Breus Sleep Apnea
VIDEO
 

WebMD Special Sections