Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Emergency Central is a collection of disease, drug, and test information including 5-Minute Emergency Medicine Consult, Davis’s Drug, McGraw-Hill Medical’s Diagnosaurus®, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals created for emergency medicine professionals. Explore these free sample topics:

Emergency Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • Disorder characterized by cessation of breathing during sleep:
    • Defined as apneic episodes >10 sec with brief EEG arousals or >3% oxygenation desaturation
  • Risk factors:
    • Obesity
    • Male
    • >40 yr of age
    • Upper airway anomalies
    • Myxedema (hypothyroidism)
    • Alcohol/sedative abuse
    • Smoking
  • Associated illness:
    • Various dysrhythmias, particularly atrial fibrillation and bradyarrhythmia
    • Right and left heart failure
    • MI
    • Stroke
    • Motor vehicle accidents
    • Hypertension poorly controlled by medical therapies


  • Affects about 9% of middle-aged men and 4% of middle-aged women
  • 80% of moderate or severe cases undiagnosed in middle-aged adults


3 classifications of sleep apnea:
  • Obstructive (84%) is due to upper airway closure despite intact respiratory drive:
    • Also known as Pickwickian syndrome
    • Pharyngeal airway is narrowed
  • Central (0.4%) is due to lack of respiratory effort despite patent upper airway.
  • Complex (15%) is due to a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Sleep Apnea." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307460/all/Sleep_Apnea.
Sleep Apnea. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307460/all/Sleep_Apnea. Accessed April 26, 2019.
Sleep Apnea. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307460/all/Sleep_Apnea
Sleep Apnea [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 26]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307460/all/Sleep_Apnea.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Sleep Apnea ID - 307460 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307460/all/Sleep_Apnea PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -