Unrecognised sleep apnoea and post-surgery complications


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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New research suggests people with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) are at a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular complications in the first month after non-cardiac surgery. 

The prospective study included 1,218 patients without a prior diagnosis of sleep apnoea and with at least one cardiovascular risk factor, undergoing major non-cardiac surgery between January 2012 and July 2017 at eight hospitals in five countries. The primary outcome of the study was a composite of myocardial injury, cardiac death, heart failure, thromboembolism, atrial fibrillation and stroke within 30 days of surgery. 

Participants underwent an overnight sleep study prior to surgery, and it was determined that 136 had severe OSA, 235 had moderate OSA, 452 had mild OSA and 395 had no OSA.

The authors reported that at 30 days after surgery, rates of the primary outcome were 30.1 per cent for patients with severe OSA, 22.1 per cent for patients with moderate OSA, 19.0 per cent for patients with mild OSA, and 14.2 per cent for patients with no OSA. 

Writing in JAMA, they said further research is needed to assess whether interventions can modify this risk.