Obstructive sleep apnea and cardiovascular risks in the elderly population

M. Mollica 1, A. Nicolai 1, R. Maffucci 1, M.R. Gioia 1, G. Paoli 1, E. Grella 1, C. Calabrese 1, S. Lavoretano 1, I. Forzano 1, F. Perrotta 2

1 Department of Translational Medicine, University of Campania “L. Vanvitelli”, Naples, Italy; 2 Department of Medicine and Health Sciences “V. Tiberio”, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy

Sleep disorder breathing (SDB) is a group of diseases common in the elderly population which are strongly associated with development of cardiovascular comorbidities including stroke, heart failure, hypertension and atrial fibrillation. Age-related anatomical and functional changes in upper airways are partially responsible for increasing prevalence of SBD in the elderly. Full-night polysomnogram remains the gold standard in diagnostic workup; symptoms assessment using validated scoring system such as Epworth Sleepiness Scale may underestimate the severity of disease in the elderly population. Therapeutic approach for SDB depends on symptoms and disease severity in addition to the presence of cardiovascular or metabolic disorders. CPAP and NIV treatment in the elderly with associated OSA and cardiovascular disease improves quality of life and may reduce incidence of future cardiovascular events.

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