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AAN 2022 | Sleep apnea as an independent risk factor for stroke

Joyce Lee-Iannotti, MD, the University of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ, discusses obstructive sleep apnea as an independent risk factor for stroke. With a considerable amount of research and literature connecting both obstructive sleep apnea and stroke in a bi-directional way, it is no surprise that 60-70% of stroke victims have sleep apnea – emphasizing the importance of this research trajectory. Dr Lee-lannotti accentuates the need to communicate with neurologists about reliable and practical screening methods to identify patients with stroke risk factors. These risk factors include hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, family history, advanced age, and obstructive sleep apnea. There are many proposed pathophysiological mechanisms connecting sleep apnea and stroke; however, work is still required concerning the direct impact of sleep apnea on stroke prevalence. Dr Lee-lannotti further describes the ongoing Sleep SMART trial (NCT03812653) evaluating whether treatment of obstructive sleep apnea shortly after acute ischemic stroke or high-risk TIA reduces recurrent stroke, acute coronary syndrome, and all-cause mortality 6 months after the event. This interview took place at the American Association of Neurology 2022 Congress in Seattle, WA.