Kidney transplant patients with sleep apnea are at an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, according to a new study.
For the study, Miklos Zsolt Molnar, MD, PhD (Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary), and his colleagues examined the prevalence of sleep apnea in kidney transplant patients and the effects the condition had on their cardiovascular risk.
The study included 100 transplant recipients. The researchers found that moderate-to-severe sleep apnea occurred in one of every four individuals.
This rate was similar to that seen in a group of dialyzed kidney disease patients who were waiting for a transplant.
In addition, kidney transplant patients with sleep apnea were more than twice as likely to be taking three or more anti-hypertensive drugs as patients without the sleep disorder but still displayed higher blood pressure than patients who slept normally.
As seen in the general population, being obese increased patients' risk of developing sleep apnea. When risk scores were calculated to predict patients' risk of developing heart disease or experiencing a stroke, kidney disease patients who had sleep apnea had twice the risk as patients without apnea.
"We propose that sleep apnea is a new risk factor for hypertension and cardiovascular events in kidney transplanted patients. Physicians should screen transplant patients for obstructive sleep apnea and offer appropriate treatment," Dr. Molnar said.
The study appears in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN).