Mixed Sleep Apnea

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1What is Mixed sleep apnea?
  • 2What are the causes of Mixed Sleep Apnea?
  • 3What is the treatment for Mixed Sleep Apnea?

Mixed sleep apnea is a combination between obstructive and central apnea. Mixed sleep apnea starts typically with central apnea episodes for about 10 seconds, followed by obstructive apnea events. A majority of patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have both obstructive and central apneas.

Many people confuse the term complex sleep apnea with mixed apnea, although they are 2 different conditions. Complex apnea is a form of sleep apnea where central apnea persists or emerges while attempting to treat obstructive events with a CPAP device.

  • When the airway closes during a central sleep apnea episode or an obstructive episode happens during a central apnea episode, then you have mixed apnea.
  • Mixed apnea can appear due to breathing efforts from obstructive episodes.
  • After a long pause in breathing while asleep, the blood oxygen level will be low and causes Mixed Sleep apnea.
  • Unusual high level of carbon dioxide in the blood.
  • The harder the event of obstructive sleep apnea, the more likely is expected a central apnea event to appear. 

Mixed sleep apnea usually starts with a central apnea episode followed by obstructive events; therefore you will need a more complex breathing machine than a simple CPAP.

The best therapy for mixed sleep apnea is VPAP (Variable positive airway pressure), which is breathing machine that uses adaptive servo-ventilation to adapt to your respiratory needs every time you want to inhale, exhale or if you stop breathing.


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