Until this analysis of the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi, there was no prospective data on the relationship between sleep apnea and recurrent stroke or death from large, population-based or ethnically diverse populations.
‘Mexican-American ethnicity with a previous history of stroke was associated with a 1.7-fold increased risk of recurrent stroke or death.’
The project enrolled 842 people (median age 65, 47 percent female, 58 percent Mexican American, 34 percent non-Hispanic white) who had an ischemic stroke caused by decreased blood supply between 2010-2015.
Using portable sleep apnea-monitoring devices, they found participants had a median of 14 pauses (full or partial) in breathing per hour during sleep, with 63 percent identified with sleep apnea (10 or more breathing pauses/hour).
During follow-up (median time to event 584 days) scientists found:
- 10.7 percent experienced another stroke and 14.8 percent died.
- Each additional pause in breathing per hour was associated with a 9 percent increase in recurrent stroke or death.
- After adjusting for known risk factors, Mexican-American ethnicity was associated with a 1.7-fold increased risk of recurrent stroke or death.
Sleep apnea may be an important modifiable risk factor for poor stroke outcomes in general, and addressing the condition may help reduce stroke-related health disparities in Mexican-Americans, scientists said.