Types of sleep apnoea

There are three types of sleep-disordered breathing: Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA) and mixed or complex sleep apnoea. Each type has distinctive characteristics that enable diagnosis.

Obstructive
sleep apnoea

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), affecting more than three in ten men and nearly one in five women.1 Patients who suffer from OSA often experience partial or full upper airway collapse during sleep.

Central
sleep apnoea

 

Central sleep apnoea (CSA) is less common than OSA.2 Unlike OSA patients who have partially or fully blocked upper airways that restrict breathing, patients with CSA have a central nervous system disorder. This means either the breathing centre in the brain fails to trigger breathing, or the signal to inhale is not transmitted properly to the rest of the patient’s body.

Mixed
sleep apnoea

 

Mixed sleep apnoea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnoea and central sleep apnoea. Mixed sleep apnoea is more common than CSA but less prevalent than OSA.3

References:

  1. Sleep-disordered breathing affects 34% of men and 17% of women aged between 30-70. Peppard et al. Am J Epidemiol. 2013
  2. Morgenthaler TI, Kagramanov V, Hanak V, Decker PA. Complex sleep apnea syndrome: is it a unique clinical syndrome? Sleep 2006 Sep;29(9):1203-9.
  3. Mayo Clinic.”Mayo Clinic Discovers New Type Of Sleep Apnea.” ScienceDaily.