Sleep apnea increases the risk of developing two possible post-operative problems. Detecting your sleeping problems prior to surgery and treating them can help improve the recovery.
The two post-operative complications are blood clots in the veins and irregular heartbeat. These problems were most common among patients with undiagnosed – and, hence, untreated – sleep apnea.
Over half of the patients who underwent surgery were unaware that they had sleep apnea. The researchers suggest that diagnosing sleep disorders in patients prior to surgery and providing them with the required treatment can reduce the risk of developing these two post-operative complications.
Sleep apnea exposes the heart to mechanical stress, leading to vascular inflammation that increases the risk of blood clot formation.
In addition to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, patients with untreated sleep apnea were also found to have a higher risk of prolonged hospitalization and a higher risk of death, too.
Moreover, these at-risk individuals were more likely to develop a venous blood clot, which is potentially life threatening.
Some of the researchers suggest that patients going for a heart surgery be tested for sleep disorders including sleep apnea beforehand.
The studies will be presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST).