After suffering minor chest pain on May 15, Deepak Subramaniam, a heart patient, resigned from his clerical job in a private computer institute in Malad.
“I have suffered two heart attacks in the past. I don’t know how to prevent another attack. It is preferable that I rest and avoid work pressure,” said the 51-year-old Malad resident.
Patients such as Subramaniam will now be the subjects of a study conducted by doctors at Nair Hospital to check if treating sleep disorders could reduce the risk of another heart attack or stroke.
The doctors from the hospital’s pulmonary medicine department are part of a worldwide group of medical experts studying the relapse in patients who have suffered a heart attack or stroke.
“It is proven that heart attacks and strokes occur frequently in patients who suffer from sleep apnoea. We now want to check if treating sleep apnoea can prevent a relapse,” said Dr Jyotsna Joshi, head of the pulmonary medicine department, Nair Hospital.
Six patients from the hospital who have a history of heart attacks or strokes and suffer from sleep disorders such as snoring, choking during sleep and insomnia have been registered for the study. These patients will be treated for sleep apnoea with continuous positive airway pressure machines that are funded by an institute in Australia. After three to five years, doctors will compare the health status of patients who were treated for the sleep disorder and those who were not, to draw deductions.
Explaining the relation between sleep disorders and heart and brain ailments, DR Ajay Chourasia, head of the cardiology department from Nair Hospital said, “Lack of oxygen causes sleep apnoea. The organs that suffer the most due to sleep apnoea are the heart and the brain. Thus, the study may help prevent a relapse.”