CPAP Therapy Improves Heart Function, Study Says
New research points to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as a contributor to heart failure, but fortunately, the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices can help.

A randomized clinical trial, funded in part by Respironics Inc, Murrysville, Pa, showed that patients who have obstructive sleep apnea and heart failure and are treated for sleep apnea with a CPAP portable device show improvement in heart function beyond that due to drug therapy.

“Prior to this study, it had not been considered that heart failure might be adversely affected by something that goes on during sleep,” says Douglas Bradley, MD, lead investigator of the study; head of the Sleep Research Laboratories at Toronto General Hospital (TGH), Mount Sinai Hospital, and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute; and director of the University of Toronto Centre for Sleep Medicine and Circadian Biology.

Patients in the study receiving CPAP treatment in addition to medication experienced decreases in sleep apnea episodes, heart size, blood pressure, and heart rate, while heart function improved.

When OSA causes asphyxiation, the sympathetic nervous system responds, causing blood pressure and heart rate to rise at a time when the heart is supposed to be resting, according to Bradley. Compounding that is the heart oxygen starvation during sleep apnea episodes that impairs its ability to pump at a time when the load on it is being increased.

“Your heart is basically doing the same thing as if you had hypertension, which is the most common cause of heart failure,” Bradley says.

The study was conducted at TGH, University Health Network, Mount Sinai Hospital, and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Researchers tested 24 patients with heart failure who also had obstructive sleep apnea. Titled “Cardiovascular Effects of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure in Patients with Heart Failure and Obstructive Sleep Apnea,” the study appeared in the March 27 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

FDA OKs Asthma Breath Test
In May, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a device to help physicians monitor patients’ asthma. A first-of-a-kind, noninvasive test system, NIOX by Aerocrine AB, of Sweden, measures the concentration of nitric oxide in exhaled human breath. That concentration level indicates a patient’s response to anti-inflammatory treatment, according to the FDA.

A decrease in exhaled nitric oxide concentration suggests that the treatment may be decreasing the lung inflammation associated with asthma. According to the FDA, recent evidence shows that nitric oxide levels increase in the breath of people with asthma. Changes in nitric oxide levels may indicate whether treatment for asthma is working.

To use NIOX, patients breathe into a mouthpiece connected by a tube to a special computer that displays nitric oxide concentration.

• Tri-anim To Sell Respironics Products
Tri-anim, Sylmar, Calif, will now sell and distribute the Murrysville, Pa-based Respironics line of oximetry and end-tidal CO2 products nationwide. The products will be sold by Tri-anim’s acute care and EMS divisions.

“Since our acquisition of Novametrix [Medical Systems Inc, Wallingford, Conn] last April, we have been evaluating our choices for distribution of the Novametrix products. We believe Tri-anim’s 108-member sales staff will help generate the growth we believe these product lines can sustain,” says Rich Umlor, vice president of sales for Respironics’ Hospital Division.

d06b.jpg (21600 bytes)• Vivometrics Releases First Child-size Monitoring System
Following the US Food and Drug Administration clearance and successful market launch of the adult-size LifeShirt™ System a year ago, VivoMetrics, Ventura, Calif, recently introduced a pediatric version for ages 5 to 17.

The first noninvasive, continuous ambulatory monitoring system of its kind for children, the pediatric LifeShirt System allows researchers and clinicians to view physiologic data on young patients in a variety of settings.

VivoMetrics anticipates the pediatric system will help pharmaceutical researchers create an efficient clinical development environment with respect to young trial subjects. This will enable researchers to bring new and valuable drug therapies to the pediatric sector more quickly and inexpensively, according to the company.

• Respiratory Therapy Products Contact Information Corrections
The correct telephone number for the company Vital Signs Inc, Totowa, NJ, which offers the Respirgard-II, Limb-o, and Breas CPAP, is (800) 932-0760. The correct telephone number for Advanced Respiratory, St Paul, Minn, is (800) 426-4224.