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Kidney Transplant, Sleep Disorder May Add Up to Trouble

Heart disease, stroke more likely for organ recipients with sleep apnea, study finds

THURSDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Kidney transplant patients with sleep apnea are at increased risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, Hungarian researchers say.

The study of 100 kidney transplant recipients found that 25 percent had moderate to severe sleep apnea, a rate similar to that seen in kidney disease patients on dialysis awaiting a transplant. This means that both types of patients who have the breathing-related sleep disorder should be considered at high risk for serious heart-related complications, the study authors noted.

Transplant recipients with sleep apnea were more than twice as likely as those without the syndrome to be taking three or more anti-hypertensive drugs, but still had higher blood pressure than those without the sleep disorder. Obesity increased a transplant patient's risk of developing sleep apnea.

When the researchers calculated risk scores, they found that kidney disease patients with sleep apnea were twice as likely to suffer heart disease or stroke than those without sleep apnea.

"We propose that sleep apnea is a new risk factor for hypertension and cardiovascular events in kidney-transplanted patients," said Dr. Miklos Zsolt Molnar, of Semmelweis University in Budapest, in a news release from the American Society of Nephrology.

"Physicians should screen transplant patients for obstructive sleep apnea and offer appropriate treatment," the study authors concluded.

The study was published online Nov. 19 in advance of print publication in January in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

More information

The National Kidney Foundation has more about kidney transplant.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, Nov. 19, 2009

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