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Anales del Sistema Sanitario de Navarra

versión impresa ISSN 1137-6627


EGUIA, V. M.  y  CASCANTE, J. A.. Sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome: Concept, diagnosis and medical treatment. Anales Sis San Navarra [online]. 2007, vol.30, suppl.1, pp.53-74. ISSN 1137-6627.

The sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (SAHS) is characterised by daytime sleepiness, cardiorespiratory and cognitive disorders, secondary to repeated episodes of obstruction of the upper airway during sleep. This disease is highly prevalent in the general population and has damaging effects on the cardiovascular system; it increases the incidence of traffic accidents due to excessive somnolence, reduces the quality of life and is associated with an excess of mortality. It usually affects obese patients and the most important symptoms are snoring and repeated respiratory pauses. With each apnea and/or hypopnea there is a fall in saturation that alters the nocturnal average and ends up causing serious cardiovascular problems in the medium to long term. The destructuring of the architecture of sleep leads to daytime sleepiness that can interfere in social and working life. Diagnosis is carried out by means of polysomnography or respiratory poligraphy, an abbreviated method that is valid for 75% of cases. The most efficient medical treatment is the application of positive pressure to the airway (Continuous positive airway pressure - CPAP) that has scarce and light secondary effects and is in general well-tolerated. Once adapted, the patient must carry out an adjustment of the pressure through polysomnography and with the autoCPAP, which can vary pressure until the respiratory events are corrected. Primary care has an essential role to play in suspicion of the clinical symptoms, the correct utilisation of the referral criteria and the control of patients receiving treatment once adapted.

Palabras clave : Apnea; Hypopnea; Sleepiness; Polysomnography; CPAP.

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