Thursday, January 14, 2010

Intro to treatment options for central sleep apnea

Hey again, so now that I've covered how central sleep apnea is can be tested for and diagnosed, I thought I'd introduce some of the many available treatment options. Central sleep apnea can be treated by the use of oxygen, cpap (standing for continuous positive air pressure), nasal cpap, hi-flow nasal cannulas, bipap (bilevel positive airway pressure), medications that can help stimulate breathing, and surgery. I'd be interested to see what others who have central sleep apnea, or who have family members with the condition, have to say about any of these treatment options, or add something I missed.

Mike M. RN BSN
Owner of


  1. Hello Mike, I know I have central sleep apnea. I tried sleeping cds to change brain waves. I tried the cpap, I tried sleeping pills. I had the complete sleep apnea surgery, even my nasal septom realigned. I even lost some weight, but unfortunately the sleep apnea didnot go away. I have always been a graveyard person as far back as I can remember. In grade school I had restless legs which woke me up and any sibling which was in bed with me. I was a forceps birth and I feel there might have been strain on my brain stem. I was always a sickly child but did not need alot of sleep. I have lived this way for 55 years. I have had multiple car accidents and minor falls which usually resulted in a form of wiplash and mild to moderate concussions. I have seen the Xrays and MRIs of my cervical spine. I have three degenerative disc. I often get sublaxation with C1, C2 which results in very tight muscle spasms of the occiput or chronic headaches. Sometimes they are migraines. I get regular chiropractic, massage and crainioscaral work. I know all this action is coming from my brain stem now. Why do you thind there is not more research on the relationship of central sleep apnea and the function of the brain stem? However, I do have less restless leg syndrome these days. When I do I just allow myself to shake out all the energy. It actually feels good. I have also had a lower back disectomy which was successful in olimanting the pain and some organ disfunctions. I still have sleep apnea and insomnia. Mostly, when I am stressed or excited about something. I seem to have a much different sleep cycle than most people. I sleep when I am finally able to sleep. I wake up regularly 7-10 times a night. I usually donot even go to bed until the sun comes up. My chronobiological clock has been off most of my life. I wonder if people who are born in one country, but then raise another country across the world can been prone to their birth place biological clock? I know I am rambling on. I am curious for how one can accomplish normal sleep habits when all this is going on. I could have a mild brain stem issue due to the cervical damage from my birth experience or from the many car accidents and falls. The doctor that performed the sleep apnea testing and surgery never mentioned central sleep apnea. I found out about it on Google. Thank GOD for Google. I will appreciate any info you post. I am thankful for your blog. Sincerely, Karen

  2. OK, I'm confused. CENTRAL sleep apnea is not the same as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, so I am not getting why and how the above poster had "surgery" for CENTRAL sleep apnea.

    Central sleep apnea involves the BRAIN and is in no way a physical or exterior body problem.

    Also, CPAP and BiPAP do NOT WORK for Central Sleep Apnea alone. Period. It may work with Mixed Apnea, but not for CSA. Pushing all the oxygen on the planet into a Central Sleep Apnea patients lungs will not aid or assist them in breathing when the 'drive' for breathing is being miscommunicated between the brain and lungs.

  3. Hi there I have both sleep apnea's and I also have stage 3 heart failure, but now Ihave ICD/CRT-D am still having problems, I have cpap for first apnea and not for the central apnea I was told I have both and are very very bad, is there a treatment for both, or are there more tests that may have to be done thanks

  4. For Karen, Yes brain stem problem can definitely be connected with central sleep apnea (altho as other poster, I'm confused why you got surgery for central sleep apnea--but maybe you hadn't been properly diagnosed)(also like another poster, I agree cpap & bipap are useless for central sleep apnea without an ST backup--not sure why this site is being labelled for central apnea based on such posts). But back to Karen--This could actually help you tremendously. Have you ever seen a NUCCA upper cervical specialist type chiropractor? They work only on the C1 which puts pressure against the brain stem, and they're experts with it (relieve a ton of "TMJ" problems as well that in truth are caused by the atlas being out). There's another atlas (C1) specilist too that uses an orthogonal machine to adjust you. Both are considered Upper cervical specialists--NO OTHER TYPE of chiropractor knows what they're doing with this (based on decades of chiropractic care with over 20 different chiropractors). Anyway,it might help you in many ways--including possibly your central sleep apnea. No guarantees--but pressure on the brain stem could effect CA. Here's my email for any correspondence:

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