In heart failure (HF), we observed two patterns of hyperpnea during Cheyne-Stokes respiration with central sleep apnea (CSR-CSA): a positive pattern where end-expiratory lung volume remains at or above functional residual capacity, and a negative pattern where it falls below functional residual capacity. We hypothesized the negative pattern is associated with worse HF.
Patients with HF underwent polysomnography. During CSR-CSA, hyperpnea, apnea-hyperpnea cycle, and lung to finger circulation times (LFCT) were measured. Plasma N-terminal prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) concentration and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) were assessed.
Of 33 patients with CSR-CSA (31 men, mean age 68 years), 9 had a negative hyperpnea pattern. There was no difference in age, body mass index, and apnea-hypopnea index between groups. Patients with a negative pattern had longer hyperpnea time (39.5 ± 6.4 versus 25.8 ± 5.9 seconds, P < .01), longer cycle time (67.8 ± 15.9 versus 51.7 ± 9.9 seconds, P < .01), higher NT-proBNP concentrations (2740  versus 570  pg/ml, P = .01), and worse New York Heart Association class (P = .02) than those with a positive pattern. LFCT and LVEF did not differ between groups.
Patients with HF and a negative CSR-CSA pattern have evidence of worse cardiac function than those with a positive pattern. Greater positive expiratory pressure during hyperpnea is likely generated during the negative pattern and might support stroke volume in patients with worse cardiac function.
A commentary on this article appears in this issue on page 1227.
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