Wearing compression stockings may be a simple low-tech way to improve obstructive sleep apnea in patients with chronic venous insufficiency, according to European researchers whose findings appear online ahead of the final publication of the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
According to a release from Newswire news service, lead researcher Stefania Redolfi, MD, of the University of Brescia in Italy reported, “We found that in patients with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), compression stockings reduced daytime fluid accumulation in the legs, which in turn reduced the amount of fluid flowing into the neck at night, thereby reducing the number of apneas and hypopnea by more than a third.” CVI occurs when a patient’s veins cannot pump enough oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart. It occurs most often in the veins of the legs.
They report continues: “In active people, fluid accumulation in the legs is counteracted by leg muscle contractions that squeeze the veins. However, prolonged sitting can prevent this process, and the accumulated fluid in the legs then shifts rostrally overnight. This shift results in fluid accumulation in neck tissue and is thought to increase apneic events by increasing the volume of the tissue, leading to repetitive collapse of the pharynx during night breathing. In otherwise healthy subjects who have heart failure or hypertension, the amount of this overnight rostral fluid shift is strongly correlated with the degree of overnight increase in neck circumference and the number of apneas and hypopnea per hour of sleep.
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