Sleep apnea linked to family CAD Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are at increased likelihood of having a family history of premature cardiac mortality—regardless of their own CAD status, according to a recent report.

Mayo Clinic College of Medicine researchers in Rochester, Minn., studied 518 adults (mean age 45), all of whom underwent diagnostic polysomnography between 2000 and 2004. Of these, 316 had confirmed OSA; 202 did not. All participants were also interviewed about their personal and family medical histories.

People with OSA were 2.13 times as likely as those without OSA to have a family history of premature CAD mortality, defined as death due to ischemic heart disease or sudden cardiac death before age 55 in men and before age 65 in women. This association was independent of important comorbidities, including a person’s personal history of cardiovasular disease.

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“This cross-sectional study… demonstrates that a strong and independent association exists between OSA and family history of premature CAD mortality,” the authors wrote. “The association of OSA with this significant CAD risk factor has important implications for understanding cardiovascular risk, and perhaps its genetic underpinnings, in individuals with OSA” (Chest. 2007; 131:118-121).