A study of hospitalized cardiac patients is the first to show that effective treatment with positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy reduces 30-day hospital readmission rates and emergency department visits in patients with heart disease and sleep apnea. Pennsylvania researchers made the findings in a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Research Society, and other partners.
As summarized, “results show that none of the cardiac patients with sleep apnea who had adequate adherence to PAP therapy were readmitted to the hospital or visited the emergency department for a heart problem within 30 days from discharge. In contrast, hospital readmission or emergency department visits occurred in 30 percent of cardiac patients with sleep apnea who had partial PAP use and 29 percent who did not use PAP therapy.”
“Finding a reduced 30-day cardiac readmission rate in PAP-adherent patients is important for improving both patient care and hospital finances,” said principal investigator and senior author Dr. Richard J. Schwab, professor in the Department of Medicine and co-director of the Penn Sleep Center at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, in the Medical Press article.
The study originally appeared in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. “Severe sleep apnea is solidly associated with serious cardiovascular outcomes, such as heart failure, heart attacks, and heart-related deaths,” said American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, a national spokesperson for the Healthy Sleep Project. “This study is a clarion call to detect, diagnose, and especially to treat sleep apnea in patients who are hospitalized for heart problems. Doing so is a win-win-win move; it improves the patient’s quality of life, improves health outcomes, and reduces the resources used to manage heart diseases.”