Central Sleep Apnea

What is Central Sleep Apnea?

Central sleep apnea is a disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep due to lack of respiratory effort. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, in which you try to breath normally but can’t because of upper airway obstruction, central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing. Central sleep apnea is much less common than other types, accounting for less than 10 percent of diagnosed sleep apneas.

What causes Central Sleep Apnea?

Central sleep apnea may occur as a result of other conditions, such as heart failure, atrial fibrilltion and conditions that affect your nervous system (neurological conditions) such as stroke or Shy-Drager syndrome. Sleeping at a high altitude also may cause central sleep apnea. Signs and symptoms of central sleep apnea include difficulty staying asleep, abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath and daytime sleepiness.

How is Central Sleep Apnea treated?

Treatment for central sleep apnea may involve using a device to keep your airway called Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV). This more recently approved airflow device is designed to treat central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea. The device learns your normal breathing pattern and stores the information into a built-in computer. After you fall asleep, the machine uses pressure to normalize your breathing pattern and prevent pauses in your breathing