central sleep apnea
Definition: Cessation of breathing during sleep secondary to blunted drive to the respiratory muscles. This is not a single disease but comprises several disorders that manifest as apneic episodes during sleep. In general, central sleep apnea is divided into hypercapnic, and eucapnic or hypocapnic. In hypercapnic central sleep apnea, there is alveolar hypoventilation secondary to either abnormal central drive or respiratory muscle weakness. Any disorder that affects either the brainstem or the respiratory muscles can cause this (strokes, muscular dystrophy). Eucapnic or hypocapnic central sleep apnea is mainly seen in association with Cheyne-Stokes respirations, resulting from heart failure and from other kinds of strokes.
See Also: sleep-induced apnea
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