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Sleep apnea lowers blood oxygen

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic showed that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the low night time blood oxygen saturation that results, may be a risk factor for sudden cardiac death (SCD).

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by episodes of stopped breathing during sleep.

The sleep apnea study

Researchers studied the sleep characteristics of almost 11,000 adults in an overnight sleep laboratory. Over a 15 year period, researchers assessed cases where patients had sudden cardiac arrest, compared to the presence of sleep apnea and night time levels of oxygen saturation in the blood.

The study showed 2 factors that resulted in a high risk of sudden cardiac death. These were:

  • Sleep apnea and low night time blood oxygen saturation
  • Age – patients who are 60 years old or older

Researchers findings and comments

Prof Somers said, “Night time low oxygen saturation in the blood is an important complication of obstructive sleep apnea. Our data showed that an average nighttime oxygen saturation of the blood of 93% and lowest nighttime saturation of 78% strongly predicted SCD, independent of other well-established risk factors, such as high cholesterol.”

He added, “These findings implicate OSA, a relatively common condition, as a novel risk factor for SCD.”


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About Kellie

Kellie is 37 years old and together with her brother Steve makes up the My Health Software team.

She helps on the websites and gathering news for the programs. Kellie worked in the medical industry prior to having her two children (8 and 6) and has a strong interest in self awareness and management of health conditions.


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