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Diagnosing and managing sleep apnea in patients with chronic cerebrovascular disease: a randomized trial of a home-based strategy.

Bravata DM, McClain V, Austin C, Ferguson J, Burrus N, Miech EJ, Matthias MS, Chumbler N, Ofner S, Foresman B, Sico J, Vaz Fragoso CA, Williams LS, Agarwal R, Concato J, Klar Yaggi H. Diagnosing and managing sleep apnea in patients with chronic cerebrovascular disease: a randomized trial of a home-based strategy. Sleep & Breathing = Schlaf & Atmung. 2017 Sep 1; 21(3):713-725.

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BACKGROUND: Obstructive sleep apnea is common and associated with poor outcomes after stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). We sought to determine whether the intervention strategy improved sleep apnea detection, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) treatment, and hypertension control among patients with chronic cerebrovascular disease and hypertension. METHODS: In this randomized controlled strategy trial intervention, patients received unattended polysomnography at baseline, and patients with OSA (apnea-hypopnea index = 5 events/h) received auto-titrating continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for up to 1 year. Control patients received usual care and unattended polysomnography at the end of the study, to identify undiagnosed OSA. Both groups received 24-h blood pressure assessments at baseline and end of the study. "Excellent" CPAP adherence was defined as cumulative use of = 4 h/night for = 70% of the nights. RESULTS: Among 225 randomized patients (115 control; 110 intervention), 61.9% (120/194) had sleep apnea. The strategy successfully diagnosed sleep apnea with 97.1% (102/105) valid studies; 90.6% (48/53, 95% CI 82.7-98.4%) of sleep apnea was undiagnosed among control patients. The intervention improved long-term excellent CPAP use: 38.6% (22/57) intervention versus 0% (0/2) control (p  <  0.0001). The intervention did not improve hypertension control in this population with well-controlled baseline blood pressure: intervention, 132.7 mmHg (±standard deviation, 14.1) versus control, 133.8 mmHg (±14.0) (adjusted difference, -1.1 mmHg, 95% CI (-4.2, 2.0)), p  =  0.48). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with cerebrovascular disease and hypertension have a high prevalence of OSA. The use of portable polysomnography, and auto-titrating CPAP in the patients' homes, improved both the diagnosis and the treatment for sleep apnea compared with usual care but did not lower blood pressure.

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