Bi-level positive airway pressure ventilation for treating heart failure with central sleep apnea that is unresponsive to continuous positive airway pressure

Tomotaka Dohi, Takatoshi Kasai, Koji Narui, Sugao Ishiwata, Minoru Ohno, Tetsu Yamaguchi, Shin-Ichi Momomura
Circulation Journal: Official Journal of the Japanese Circulation Society 2008, 72 (7): 1100-5

BACKGROUND: Cheyne-Stokes respiration with central sleep apnea (CSR-CSA) is associated with a poor prognosis in patients with heart failure (HF). However, some patients do not respond to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), so other therapeutic modalities should be considered, such as bi-level positive airway pressure (PAP), which also assists respiration and might be effective for such patients.

METHODS AND RESULTS: The 20 patients with HF because of left ventricular systolic dysfunction were assessed: 8 had ischemic etiology, and all had severe CSA according to the apnea - hypopnea index (AHI) determined by polysomnography. All diagnosed patients underwent repeat polysomnography using CPAP. The AHI improved significantly in 11 (AHI <15), but only slightly in 9, in whom the AHI remained high (>or=15). Bi-level PAP titration significantly improved the AHI in the latter group. Those who were unresponsive to CPAP had significantly lower PaCO(2), higher plasma brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), longer mean duration of CSR and fewer obstructive episodes than CPAP responders. After 6 months of positive airway support with either CPAP (n=9) or bi-level PAP (n=7), BNP levels significantly decreased and left ventricular ejection fraction significantly increased.

CONCLUSIONS: Bi-level PAP could be an effective alternative for patients with HF and pure CSR-CSA who are unresponsive to CPAP.

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