Sign Up for a Free Account
  • Updated 11.22.2020
  • Released 03.17.1999
  • Expires For CME 11.22.2023

Central sleep apnea due to high-altitude periodic breathing

Introduction

Overview

In this article, the authors explain the basics of central sleep apnea due to high-altitude periodic breathing. Included are updates related to sleep timing, oxygen saturation and pulse oxymetry measurements at high-altitude.

Key points

• Central sleep apnea due to high-altitude periodic breathing affects about a quarter of people who ascend to 2500 meters and almost 100% of those who ascend to 4000 meters or higher.

• It is characterized by central apneas, periodic breathing, insomnia, and sleep fragmentation.

• There are a variety of medications that may be beneficial, including sedative hypnotics, acetazolamide, steroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

• Women are more resistant to the effects of high altitude than men.

• Pregnant women at high altitudes tend to have increased neonatal complications and high risk of low birthweight in newborns.

Historical note and terminology

High-altitude insomnia and high-altitude periodic breathing are no longer diagnostic categories in the 2014 International Classification of Sleep Disorders, 3rd edition (01). The current nomenclature is central sleep apnea due to high-altitude periodic breathing, which is characterized by cyclic periods of central apnea and hypopnea, usually accompanied by frequent awakenings, poor quality sleep, sense of suffocation, and fatigue at high altitudes.

This is an article preview.
Start a Free Account
to access the full version.

  • Nearly 3,000 illustrations, 
including video clips of 
neurologic disorders.

  • Every article is reviewed by our esteemed Editorial Board for accuracy and currency.

  • Full spectrum of 
neurology in 1,200 
comprehensive articles.

Questions or Comment?

MedLink, LLC

10393 San Diego Mission Rd, Suite 120

San Diego, CA 92108-2134

Toll Free (U.S. + Canada): 800-452-2400

US Number: +1-619-640-4660

Support: service@medlink.com

Editor: editor@medlink.com