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Sleep Apnea And Pulmonary Embolism

Posted Aug 02 2010 7:47pm 1 Comment

Here's another link that solidifies the connections in my sleep-breathing paradigm: Researchers found that people who have pulmonary embolism (PE) have a much higher change of having undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. Pulmonary embolism is a condition where blood clots from your lower legs or other parts of your body travel into your lungs and get stuck, preventing you from breathing properly. In their study of hospitalized patients suspected of having pulmonary embolism, those that were found to have pulmonary embolism were more likely to snore (75% vs, 50%) and have obstructive sleep apnea (65% vs. 36%) compared with those that did not have pulmonary embolism. PE was found to be independently associated with the risk of obstructive sleep apnea (odds ratio = 2.78).

All this makes sense, since we know that obstructive sleep apnea creates conditions in your bloodstream that promotes stagnation, inflammation, and clotting. In addition, we also know that the blood itself in sleep apnea patients are much thicker (viscous), making it easier to clot when stagnant. 

With sleep apnea, there are various levels of potential clotting, from larger vessels like the carotid artery and deep veins in the legs, to to small vessels in the gut or in the brain. 

If you know anyone who suffered from a pulmonary embolus, does that person snore?

Comments (1)
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I suffered severe pulmonary embolism including collapse and infarction in my right lung, requiring aggressive treatment with catheter directed thrombolysis. According to my husband I never snored prior to PE and I had no sleeping problems. In the three years since PE, I frequently wake myself up snoring and have a lot of trouble sleeping with regular periods of waking during the night and not being able to sleep again. In my case it seems the snoring is more a result of the PE, not the reverse.  
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