Canadian researchers have found that treating sleep apnea before surgery reduces the chance of developing serious cardiovascular complications such as cardiac arrest or shock.
According to the study “A Matched Cohort Study of Postoperative Outcomes in Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Could Preoperative Diagnosis and Treatment Prevent Complications?” published in Anesthesiology, the study compared postoperative outcomes in 4,211 patients with OSA, who were diagnosed by sleep study either before or after surgery, with a matched control group of patients who did not have the condition. Those who were diagnosed with OSA prior to surgery were prescribed treatment with CPAP therapy.
“OSA is a common disorder that affects millions and is associated with an increased risk of surgical complications, but the condition often goes unrecognized,” said Thomas Mutter, MD, lead author, department of anesthesia and perioperative medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. “As many as 25 percent of surgical patients may have OSA, but the vast majority of these patients aren’t treated or don’t know they have the disorder.”
Medical Press reports that although patients with untreated OSA were at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular complications, patients who were diagnosed and treated with CPAP therapy before surgery were less than half as likely to experience cardiovascular complications such as cardiac arrest or shock.
Additionally, researchers found that respiratory complications were twice as likely to occur in patients with OSA, compared to patients without the condition, regardless of when patients were diagnosed or if CPAP therapy was prescribed.