January 19, 2007

Beta blockers, a class of drugs commonly used to treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions, may help to control central sleep apnea (CSA) in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), according to research published in the January issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

To examine the potential of beta blockers to control CSA, Japanese researchers examined the relationship between use of this class of drugs and severity of CSA in 45 patients with CHF and CSA. Results showed that patients using beta blockers (n=27) had lower apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and central apnea index (CAI) scores than those not using beta blockers (n=18). AHI and CAI were also negatively correlated with the dose of the beta blocker carvedilol. In addition, no use of beta blockers was independently associated with CAI.

The researchers concluded that beta blocker therapy may dose-dependently suppress CSA in patients with CHF.

For more information, visit www.chestjournal.org.