by Medindia Content Team on  March 31, 2006 at 12:29 PM General Health News
Treatment Given For Sleep Apnea Benefits The Heart Too
The device, which is used for treating obstructive sleep apnea patients, by making them to breathe easier, is also seems to be beneficial in resolving heart abnormalities, says Belgium physicians.

OSA victims have enlarged and thickened hearts that pump less effectively.

"Not only are the shape and size of the heart affected, the right side of the heart was dilated and the heart muscle on the left side was thicker in patients with obstructive sleep apnea, but the pump function was also reduced," said study leader Dr. Bharati Shivalkar of University Hospital Antwerp, according to

"Treating the problem brought significant improvements in the affected parameters, as well as in symptoms, in a relatively short period of time of six months," she said.

OSA is a common sleep-related breathing disorder associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and characterized by repeated partial or complete closure of the pharynx, gasping episodes, sleep fragmentation and daytime sleepiness.

The study determined use of continuous positive airway pressure devices -- a common sleep apnea treatment -- not only helped the OSA patients sleep better, there were significant improvements in the size, shape and pumping action of their hearts.

The study appears in the April 4 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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