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The prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing among survivors of acute pulmonary embolism

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Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is associated with prothrombotic effects that could lead to venous thromboembolic diseases.


The objective of this study is to clarify the prevalence of SDB among survivors of pulmonary embolism (PE).


One hundred six consecutive PE patients were prospectively evaluated by portable monitoring (PM). Nocturnal polysomnography was performed in all subjects who were diagnosed by PM to have an apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) > 15/h or evidence of increased daytime sleepiness.


The overall SDB prevalence in the study population was 58.5 %. Mild obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) was diagnosed in 35.8 % of patients. Of the subjects, 12.3 % suffered from moderate OSA. In 10.4 % of study participants, OSA was found to be severe. High-risk PE was significantly more frequent among subjects with an AHI > 15/h (p = 0.005).


OSA is a common comorbidity of PE and possibly represents an additional risk factor for hemodynamic instability in PE patients.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the excellent assistance of Mrs. Tanja Wagner during the preparation and execution of the study. Dr. Peter Julian Petri provided most valuable support in proof reading the manuscript.

Author contributions

Drs. Berghaus, von Scheidt, and Schwaiblmair conceived and designed the study. Drs. Berghaus, Faul, and Schwaiblmair acquired the study data. Dr. Berghaus performed the statistical analysis and drafted the article. All authors participated in interpreting the data and revised the manuscript for important intellectual content. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

All authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

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Correspondence to Thomas M. Berghaus.

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Berghaus, T.M., Faul, C., von Scheidt, W. et al. The prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing among survivors of acute pulmonary embolism. Sleep Breath 20, 213–218 (2016).

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