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September 2009, Volume 39 Number 9 - Supplement: Cardiac Insider , p 4 - 8


  • Michael H. Dreher RN, PhD
  • Regina M. Willard RN, MSN, CCRN
  • Judith I. Reishtein RN, PhD


ABOUT 18 MILLION PEOPLE in the United States, or 6.6%, have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep-related breathing disorder that puts them at risk for cardiovascular complications (including hypertension, stroke, dysrhythmias, heart failure, and myocardial infarction) that can lead to increased morbidity and mortality. The joint scientific statement by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC) Foundation in 2008 highlighted this link between sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease. According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, about 38,000 Americans die of OSA-related cardiovascular problems each year. (For details about how OSA contributes to cardiovascular problems, see No rest for the weary.)

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