This blog is based off of the AAST 2019 Annual Meeting Session "Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Stroke: Evidence, Mechanisms, and Treatment Strategies." For more information on this session and other session recordings click here. Ischemic stroke (or acute stroke) is the second leading cause of long-term disability. Many who suffer from ischemic stroke also have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Currently, ischemic stroke treatment therapies have a very limited therapeutic window and aren’t widely applicable to most patients. The treatment of OSA in patients with acute ischemic stroke is now being looked to as a novel, therapeutic approach to preventing stroke.
An overlooked symptom in people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is olfactory dysfunction (i.e., impairment in the sense of smell) such as an inability to detect or distinguish between odors. A finding that the sense of smell improves soon after a person with OSA begins continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment corroborates a possible link between olfactory dysfunction and OSA.1,2
Access tools and resources related to earning your CCSH credential and sign up to receive updates from AAST.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the intermittent cessation of breathing during sleep, occurs when the upper airway tissues (e.g., tonsils, fatty tissue) repeatedly collapse into the upper airway and partially or fully block airflow. The collapsibility of the upper airway in people with OSA is believed to occur because the upper airway muscles relax excessively during sleep, which allows structures supported by the muscles to collapse into the upper airway.