Treatment of sleep apnea may reduce six-month readmission of heart failure patients. First author Sunhil Sharma said, “Our research showed that early recognition and treatment of patients hospitalized with decompensated congestive heart failure is associated with a reduction in readmissions, for patients who use their positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy on a regular basis. Importantly, hospitals can implement cost-effective screening programs to catch sleep apnea in hospitalized, high-risk patients.”
The researchers screened patients admitted into hospital with heart disease, for underlying sleep disordered breathing. They followed 75 patients, and 70 of them received treatment for sleep disordered breathing. Over the course of six months, researchers tracked positive airway pressure (PAP) compliance, emergency room visits, and readmissions.
Patients who used their PAP device regularly had less ER visits along with readmissions, compared to those who did not fully comply with their PAP device.
Sharma concluded, “Physicians should be on the lookout for sleep apnea in patients with heart failure with the goal of diagnosing and treating early, which might help prevent readmissions and emergency room visits. Multi-center, randomized studies are needed to replicate and validate these findings.”