Features July 2015 Issue

If You’re Having Surgery, Learn the Heart Risks Linked to Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea affects about 18 million Americans, and is caused when muscle or tissue in the back of the throat restricts air flow when you inhale during sleep.

If You’re Having Surgery, Learn the Heart Risks Linked to Sleep Apnea

This common disorder, in which you temporarily stop breathing many times during sleep, can lead to serious cardiovascular complications after surgery.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can be a health risk even under normal circumstances. The common sleep disorder is linked to higher risks of hypertension, heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms (arrythmias) and stroke. But if you have sleep apnea and you’re having surgery, the odds of developing those and other problems is even greater, says Silvia Neme-Mercante, MD, a sleep disorder specialist at Cleveland Clinic.

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