RU researchers explore heart-healthy sleep

One thing most people will agree on is the value of a good night's sleep.

The effect of poor sleep on cardiac rehabilitation patients was the subject of two recent research presentations by Adrian Aron, assistant professor of physical therapy, and a team of researchers from Radford University at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies annual meeting in Baltimore.

Co-authored by Julia Castleberry, associate professor of physical therapy, and Laura Newsome, assistant professor of exercise, sport and health education, the presentations explored the effect of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on the cardiovascular function of patients admitted to cardiac rehabilitation units for two years at Carilion Memorial in Roanoke and Harrisonburg's Rockingham Memorial Hospital.

Aron said OSA has the potential to cause further damage to patients in rehabilitation from cardiac problems. He added that many of these recovering patients don’t know they have OSA or its risk to their recovery and health. In the team's second presentation, they demonstrated the abnormally high prevalence of OSA in cardiac patients and concluded that proper diagnosis for OSA should be mandatory.

While testing patients for OSA has been difficult, Aron and Trent Hargens, assistant professor of exercise science at James Madison University, are exploring a new diagnostic technique. At the annual meeting of American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in Indianapolis in May, Aron and Hargens presented their research into a simple exercise test they believe will help identify those at risk for OSA.

Aug 27, 2013
Don Bowman
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