Sleep apnea - central; Obesity - central sleep apnea; Cheyne-Stokes - central sleep apnea; Heart failure - central sleep apnea
Central sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops over and over during sleep.
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Central sleep apnea results when the brain temporarily stops sending signals to the muscles that control breathing.
The condition often occurs in people who have certain medical problems. For example, it can develop in someone who has a problem with an area of the brain called the brainstem, which controls breathing.
Conditions that can cause or lead to central sleep apnea include:
Problems that affect the brainstem, including brain infection, stroke, or conditions of the cervical spine (neck)
If the apnea is not associated with another disease, it is called idiopathic central sleep apnea.
A condition called Cheyne-Stokes respiration can affect people with severe heart failure and can be associated with central sleep apnea. The breathing pattern involves alternating deep and heavy breathing with shallow, or even not breathing, usually while sleeping.
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Ryan CM, Bradley TD. Central sleep apnea. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 89.
Zinchuk AV, Thomas RJ. Central sleep apnea: diagnosis and management. In: Kryger M, Roth T, Dement WC, eds. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 110.
Allen J. Blaivas, DO, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, VA New Jersey Health Care System, Clinical Assistant Professor, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, East Orange, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.