Treating sleep-disordered breathing may have cardiovascular benefits for heart failure patients

Severe sleep-disordered breathing is linked with stiffening of the arteries' walls and may be related to the development of heart failure, according to a recent study in ESC Heart Failure, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology.

In the study, arterial stiffness increased according to the severity of sleep-disordered breathing in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

The findings suggest that treating obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing abnormalities -- for example, through the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices--may improve the prognosis of certain heart failure patients by decreasing arterial stiffness.

"We hope that CPAP may improve not only hypertension but also arterial stiffness, and lead to improvements in the prognosis of patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction," said co-author Dr. Akiomi Yoshihisa, of Fukushima Medical University, in Japan.