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VOLUME 29, ISSUE 08


Lateral Sleeping Position Reduces Severity of Central Sleep Apnea / Cheyne-Stokes Respiration

Irene Szollosi BSc1,2; Teanau Roebuck BAppl Sc1; Bruce Thompson PhD1; Matthew T Naughton MD1,2

1Department of Allergy Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; 2Department of Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia



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Introduction:

The influence of sleeping position on obstructive sleep apnea severity is well established. However, in central sleep apnea with Cheyne Stokes respiration (CSA-CSR) in which respiratory-control instability plays a major pathophysiologic role, the effect of position is less clear.

Study Objectives:

To examine the influence of position on CSA-CSR severity as well as central and mixed apnea frequency.

Methods:

Polysomnograms with digitized video surveillance of 20 consecutive patients with heart failure and CSA-CSR were analyzed for total apnea-hypopnea index, mean event duration, and mean oxygen desaturation according to sleep stage and position. Position effects on mixed and central apnea index, mean apnea duration, and mean desaturation were also examined in non-rapid eye movement sleep.

Results:

Data are presented as mean ± SEM unless otherwise indicated. Group age was 59.9 ± 2.3 years, and total apnea-hypopnea index was 26.4 ± 3.0 events per hour. Compared with supine position, lateral position reduced the apnea-hypopnea index in all sleep stages (Stage 1, 54.7 ± 4.2 events per hour vs 27.2 ± 4.1 events per hour [p < .001]; Stage 2, 43.3 ± 6.1 events per hour vs 14.4 ± 3.6 events per hour [p < .001]; slowwave sleep, 15.9 ± 6.4 events per hour vs 5.4 ± 2.9 events per hour [p < .01]; rapid eye movement sleep, 38.0 ± 7.3 events per hour vs 11.0 ± 3.0 events per hour [p < .001]). Lateral position attenuated apnea and hypopnea associated desaturation (supine 4.7% ± 0.3%, lateral 3.0% ± 0.4%; p < .001) with no difference in event duration (supine 25.7 ± 2.8 seconds, lateral 26.9 ± 3.4 seconds; p = .921). Mixed apneas were longer than central (29.1 ± 2.1 seconds and 19.3 ± 1.1 seconds; p < .001) and produced greater desaturation (6.1% ± 0.5% and 4.5% ± 0.5%, p = .003). Lateral position decreased desaturation independent of apnea type (supine 5.4% ± 0.5%, lateral 3.9% ± 0.4%; p = .003).

Conclusions:

Lateral position attenuates severity of CSA-CSR. This effect is independent of postural effects on the upper airway and is likely to be due to changes in pulmonary oxygen stores. Further studies are required to investigate mechanisms involved.
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