Sleep and stroke

Article section 1 of 15.  Next

By Sheldon Kapen MD

In this clinical summary, Dr. Culebras of SUNY Upstate Medical University and the Sleep Center at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, New York, highlights the importance of obstructive sleep apnea as a risk factor for stroke. Rehabilitation and recovery are less successful in the presence of sleep apnea. Habitual short and long sleep durations, long-standing night shift work, and periodic leg movements of sleep negatively affect cerebrovascular morbidity and mortality.

Key Points

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common sleep disorder and is an important risk factor for stroke and transient ischemic attack.
  • Central sleep apnea is also a risk factor for ischemic stroke.
  • All stroke and transient ischemic attack patients should be screened for sleep disorders and, if appropriate, should be considered for treatment with CPAP.
  • Sleep apnea is present in 70% of acute stroke patients.
  • Treatment of sleep apnea may lower the incidence of vascular morbidity and mortality.

In This Article

Historical note and nomenclature
Clinical manifestations
Clinical vignette
Pathogenesis and pathophysiology
Differential diagnosis
Diagnostic workup
Prognosis and complications
References cited