Complex sleep apnea syndrome
Juan Wang,1,* Yan Wang,1,* Jing Feng,1,2 Bao-yuan Chen,1 Jie Cao1
1Respiratory Department of Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin, People's Republic of China; 2Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
*The first two authors contributed equally to this work
Abstract: Complex sleep apnea syndrome (CompSAS) is a distinct form of sleep-disordered breathing characterized as central sleep apnea (CSA), and presents in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients during initial treatment with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. The mechanisms of why CompSAS occurs are not well understood, though we have a high loop gain theory that may help to explain it. It is still controversial regarding the prevalence and the clinical significance of CompSAS. Patients with CompSAS have clinical features similar to OSA, but they do exhibit breathing patterns like CSA. In most CompSAS cases, CSA events during initial CPAP titration are transient and they may disappear after continued CPAP use for 4–8 weeks or even longer. However, the poor initial experience of CompSAS patients with CPAP may not be avoided, and nonadherence with continued therapy may often result. Treatment options like adaptive servo-ventilation are available now that may rapidly resolve the disorder and relieve the symptoms of this disease with the potential of increasing early adherence to therapy. But these approaches are associated with more expensive and complicated devices. In this review, the definition, potential plausible mechanisms, clinical characteristics, and treatment approaches of CompSAS will be summarized.
Keywords: complex sleep apnea syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, apnea threshold, continuous positive airway pressure, adaptive servo-ventilation
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