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Sleep apnea and cardiovascular health

Washington University is participating in a trial that is testing a new sleep apnea therapy

October 23, 2014

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is a unique form of sleep apnea where the brain fails to send signals to the diaphragm to breathe. The condition affects up to 40 percent of patients with heart failure and up to 50 percent of those who have suffered a stroke. Not only does CSA lower quality of life, it also contributes significantly to recurrent hospitalizations and can lead to a four-fold increase in deaths within two years of developing the condition.

Washington University cardiologist Susan Joseph, MD, is helping lead a trial looking at a new sleep apnea therapy.
Cardiologist Susan Joseph, MD.

Washington University School of Medicine has been chosen as one of 25 sites to participate in a prospective, multicenter, randomized trial that is testing a new therapy called the remedē® System for patients with CSA. Patients are implanted with a pacemaker-like device that stimulates the phrenic nerve, prompting the diaphragm to move if breathing stops. Participants are monitored to evaluate sleep quality and heart function.

The current study is following up on a previous pilot safety trial, which had promising results, says cardiologist Susan Joseph, MD, the trial’s principal investigator at Washington University.

For more information on the current trial, please visit the trial site on

A version of this story appears in Innovate Heart & Vascular, a magazine published by Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University Physicians highlighting the latest clinical and research advancements offered by these two institutions.