Nocturnal oxyhemoglobin desaturation during sleep in congestive heart failure patients

Jéssica Julioti Urbano, Lilian Nanami Uchiyama, Anderson Soares Silva, Roger André Oliveira Peixoto, Sergio Roberto Nacif, Luis Vicente Franco Oliveira


Introduction: Sleep breathing disorders occur in 45% of patients with heart failure, with 36%–50% manifesting Cheyne-Stokes respiration with central sleep apnea and 12% exhibiting obstructive sleep apnea. Several studies have shown that sleep pathophysiology may negatively affect the cardiovascular system and that cardiac dysfunction alters sleep and respiration. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine oxyhemoglobin desaturation during sleep in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) using overnight pulse oximetry. Methods: Overnight pulse oximetry was conducted in the patients’ homes with wrist pulse oximeters and finger probes that were placed around the forefingers of 15 patients with CHF and ejection fractions less than 50%, who were classified as New York Heart Association functional classes II and III. Results: The patients were divided into two groups. The first group consisted of seven patients with oxyhemoglobin desaturation indices of over 5 events/h, and the second group contained eight patients with oxyhemoglobin desaturation indices of 5 or less events/h. Student’s t-tests did not show any significant differences between the groups. The patients’ body mass indices correlated positively with the total desaturation episodes and desaturation time less than 90% and correlated negatively with the arterial oxygen saturation nadir. Conclusion: Pulse oximetry monitoring during sleep can be used to detect sleep breathing disorders in stable patients with CHF.

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