Obstructive sleep apnea and respiratory compromise: Know Your Risk!

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) — a potentially serious sleep disorder that can stop a person’s breathing during sleep — affects 25 million adults in the U.S. Individuals living with OSA may know they are at risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes or headaches. What they may not know is that OSA is also a risk factor for respiratory compromise, a potentially fatal condition.

Respiratory compromise is the second leading avoidable patient safety issue and can occur during hospitalization when a patient is recovering from a surgery or during an outpatient procedure using anesthesia. Although relatively unknown, respiratory compromise can cause an individual’s breathing to weaken, potentially leading to respiratory failure and even death. OSA is just one of several conditions that increase a person’s risk for respiratory compromise; age, obesity and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are other risk factors.

Although respiratory compromise is a serious health issue, it is frequently preventable. By using appropriate therapies and patient monitoring technologies to evaluate a patient’s respiratory status, healthcare professionals can detect respiratory compromise and treat patients earlier.

People may experience:

Sleep: excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia, nightmares, sleep deprivation, or snoring

Respiratory: episodes of no breathing, breathing through the mouth, or loud breathing

Also common: depression, dry mouth, dry throat, fatigue, headache, irritability, mood swings, or weight gain

Requires a medical diagnosis:

 Symptoms include snoring loudly and feeling tired even after a full night's sleep.

“OSA sufferers must understand that their condition not only impacts their sleep and overall health. They need to be aware that it may increase their risk for respiratory compromise. Signs of respiratory compromise include apneas or stop-breathing episodes and changes in consciousness and alertness, among others,” said Dr. Peter C. Gay, a sleep medicine specialist. “If you have OSA and need to undergo a medical or surgical procedure, speak with your healthcare provider about respiratory compromise. It can be detected early with appropriate respiratory monitoring technologies.”

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Posted 10:19 AM

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