Sleep apnea may not be associated with wake-up stroke

March 18, 2021

Although the connection between obstructive sleep apnea and stroke is well known, a recent study does not show an association between those who had sleep apnea and those whose strokes began while they were sleeping, according to a news release from the University of Michigan Health Lab.

“When someone wakes up with stroke symptoms, it’s unclear when the event actually began,” explains first author Sonja Schuetz, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Michigan Medicine. This is known as wake-up stroke and was reported in 30% of the stroke survivors in the study.

“Every minute matters in stroke care, so wake-up strokes complicate treatment. We wanted to explore if there’s a link between wake-up stroke and obstructive sleep apnea,” Schuetz said.

Instead of confirming a link, Senior Author Devin Brown, MD, MS said the team’s work reaffirms its previous findings that wake-up stroke is not associated with sleep-disordered breathing in women, this time failing to find a significant association in either sex.

Researchers analyzed data from 837 participants of the BASIC (Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi) project in Nueces County, TX, who had completed a baseline interview, responding to whether their ischemic stroke occurred during sleep. Almost one-third of the patients also took home sleep apnea tests after their stroke.

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