Role of nocturnal fluid redistribution in the pathogenesis of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a common respiratory disorder among adult population; it is more probable among men and patients with fluid retaining conditions such as heart failure (HF) where it increases the mortality risk. Therefore, it is important to develop new treatments for sleep apnea. We have proposed that fluid which is accumulated in the legs during day moves towards the head when lying down to sleep and accumulates in the neck or lung; which could be a major contributor to the development of sleep apnea. Therefore, we aim to determine whether:
men and women have different patterns of fluid shift to the upper body as related to differences in prevalence of sleep apnea among sexes;
the relative degree of fluid shift into the neck and lungs at night is associated with the severity of sleep apnea;
the respiratory sounds recorded from the neck and lungs can be used to estimate the amount of nocturnal fluid accumulated in the neck or lungs.
If so a new approach for the therapy of sleep apnea would be to prevent fluid accumulation in the legs during the day.