Is there evidence to support this recommendation that CPAP will reduce the risk that your coronary heart disease will progress to a heart attack or stroke? Harvard Health Publications tackles the question.
The best treatment for moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea is CPAP. It is a device worn while asleep that works like a reverse vacuum cleaner and applies pressure through a mask into the airway to keep it from collapsing during breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea is a risk factor for the development of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, and premature death. Treatment with CPAP lowers blood pressure, and there is some evidence that it may prevent the development of heart disease and eliminate the risk of early death. Until recently, however, evidence that CPAP is beneficial in those who already have heart disease was not available. Now, the results of a large international clinical trial indicate that CPAP may not reduce the risk of heart disease progression.