In 2005, a study was undertaken to to address the impact of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on patients who had undergone revascularization for coronary artery disease (CAD) and who had documented obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The study is still ongoing, and researchers have found that the prevalence of OSA is 64% in the CAD population. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is 58% and obesity is 28% prevalent in CAD.
Patients with CAD and OSA were older, more obese, more often male gender, and had higher incidence of hypertension, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation than those patients with CAD but not OSA.
Interestingly, the risk of CAD was the same in patients with OSA, regardless of their level of sleepiness. And the only difference in the comorbidities of sleepy versus non-sleepy OSA patients was obesity, which was more common in the sleepy OSA patients.
The researchers also studied CPAP compliance. At one year of follow-up, 70% of sleepy OSA patients with CAD were still using their CPAP compared to 60% of non-sleepy OSA patients. This makes sense, as more symptomatic OSA patients are more likely to keep using their CPAP.
The study will conclude in 2012 and the researchers are hoping to prove that treatment of OSA with CPAP will offer patients a non-pharmacologic intervention to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.