Sleep apnea may increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes

June 13, 2011

DARIEN, IL - Sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, suggests a research abstract that will be presented Monday, June 13, in Minneapolis, Minn., at SLEEP 2011, the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).

Results show that women with severe sleep apnea had the highest incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes. This increased prevalence was principally driven by a higher incidence of gestational diabetes and early preterm birth.

The authors noted that sleep apnea has been associated with heart disease, metabolic syndrome and mortality in non-pregnant populations. However, few studies have examined the relationship between sleep apnea in pregnancy and adverse obstetrical outcomes.

"Our findings suggest that moderate to severe sleep-disordered breathing may be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, particularly gestational diabetes and preterm birth," said principal investigator Dr. Francesca L. Facco, assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University in Chicago. "However, it is unclear if sleep-disordered breathing is a risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcomes independent of obesity."

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep apnea is a form of sleep-disordered breathing that involves partial reductions (hypopneas) and complete pauses (apneas) in breathing during sleep. The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway. The breathing pauses that result can produce abrupt reductions in blood oxygen saturation and reduce blood flow to the brain. Most people with OSA snore loudly and frequently, and they often experience excessive daytime sleepiness.

Facco and colleagues searched a medical records database and identified 150 women who had received a sleep evaluation by overnight polysomnography and had given birth between January 2000 and June 2009. About 87 percent of the women were overweight or obese at delivery with a body mass index of 25 or more. Seventy-two percent of the women had undergone the sleep study within three years of their delivery. For women with more than one pregnancy during the study period, the first pregnancy with outcome information was selected for analysis.

Women with an apnea-hypopnea index of five to 14.9 breathing pauses per hour of sleep were considered to have mild to moderate sleep apnea, and those with an AHI of 15 or more were classified as having severe sleep apnea. The analysis assessed the associations between sleep apnea and three adverse pregnancy outcomes: pregnancy induced hypertension, gestational diabetes, and early preterm birth at 34 weeks or less.

Facco added that more research is needed to clarify how sleep apnea and obesity interact with maternal and neonatal health.

"Further studies, principally large prospective studies utilizing objective measures of sleep-disordered breathing, are needed to confirm this relationship, and to examine the interaction between sleep-disordered breathing and body mass index," said Facco. "If a relationship is confirmed, further studies would be needed to ascertain the role of treatment of sleep-disordered breathing in pregnancy."

The treatment of choice for obstructive sleep apnea is CPAP therapy, which provides a steady stream of air through a mask that is worn during sleep. This airflow keeps the airway open to prevent pauses in breathing and restore normal oxygen levels. Help for people with sleep apnea is available at more than 2,200 AASM-accredited sleep disorders centers across the U.S.
-end-
The SLEEP 2011 abstract supplement is available for download on the website of the journal Sleep at http://www.journalsleep.org/ViewAbstractSupplement.aspx.

A joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, the annual SLEEP meeting brings together an international body of more than 5,000 leading clinicians and scientists in the fields of sleep medicine and sleep research. At SLEEP 2011 (www.sleepmeeting.org), more than 1,000 research abstract presentations will showcase new findings that contribute to the understanding of sleep and the effective diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Related Heart Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

Cellular pathway of genetic heart disease similar to neurodegenerative disease
Research on a genetic heart disease has uncovered a new and unexpected mechanism for heart failure.

Mechanism linking gum disease to heart disease, other inflammatory conditions discovered
The link between periodontal (gum) disease and other inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes has long been established, but the mechanism behind that association has, until now, remained a mystery.

New 'atlas' of human heart cells first step toward precision treatments for heart disease
Scientists have for the first time documented all of the different cell types and genes expressed in the healthy human heart, in research published in the journal Nature.

With a heavy heart: How men and women develop heart disease differently
A new study by researchers from McGill University has uncovered that minerals causing aortic heart valve blockage in men and women are different, a discovery that could change how heart disease is diagnosed and treated.

Heart-healthy diets are naturally low in dietary cholesterol and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
Eating a heart-healthy dietary pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, vegetable oils and nuts, which is also limits salt, red and processed meats, refined-carbohydrates and added sugars, is relatively low in dietary cholesterol and supports healthy levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.

Pacemakers can improve heart function in patients with chemotherapy-induced heart disease
Research has shown that treating chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy with commercially available cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) delivered through a surgically implanted defibrillator or pacemaker can significantly improve patient outcomes.

Arsenic in drinking water may change heart structure raising risk of heart disease
Drinking water that is contaminated with arsenic may lead to thickening of the heart's main pumping chamber in young adults, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

New health calculator can help predict heart disease risk, estimate heart age
A new online health calculator can help people determine their risk of heart disease, as well as their heart age, accounting for sociodemographic factors such as ethnicity, sense of belonging and education, as well as health status and lifestyle behaviors.

Wide variation in rate of death between VA hospitals for patients with heart disease, heart failure
Death rates for veterans with ischemic heart disease and chronic heart failure varied widely across the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system from 2010 to 2014, which could suggest differences in the quality of cardiovascular health care provided by VA medical centers.

Heart failure: The Alzheimer's disease of the heart?
Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Read More: Heart Disease News and Heart Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.