Researchers at Mayo Clinic have discovered that patients with obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of having a heart attack between typical sleeping hours — 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. The results of the novel research will be published in the July 29 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The findings identify obstructive sleep apnea as the first disease condition associated with a change in heart attack incidence for the time of day; previous research showed that heart attacks and sudden cardiac death were more prevalent between 6 a.m. and noon in the general population.
The study prospectively evaluated 92 patients (71 were men, and the mean age was 61 years old) admitted because of a heart attack. Of those patients who had a heart attack during the night-time hours between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m., 91 percent had obstructive sleep apnea.
Virend Somers, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic whose research focuses on the relationship between sleep apnea and heart disease, says the results strongly suggest that patients who have a heart attack during the night time hours should be evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea. Below he comments on the study background and why the findings may be important to patients.
Dr. Somers describes the background research that led to the current study.
Dr. Somers explains the current study findings and the next steps for research.
Dr. Somers discusses the implications for patients who have had early-morning heart attacks.
Update: This story was covered in the Rochester Post-Bulletin.