Central sleep apnea (CSA) is a disorder in which the breathing during sleep repeatedly stops due to a lack of respiratory effort. In other words, the brain doesn’t send a signal to the muscles of breathing. In contrast, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by episodes of blockage of the upper airway during sleep with continuation of respiratory effort.
CSA is much less common than OSA, accounting for less than 10% of patients with sleep apnea.
There are four major forms of CSA seen in clinical practice:
Patients with CSA may suffer from insomnia and/or excessive daytime sleepiness. Snoring is not always noted.
Treatment for CSA often involves using a more advanced form of pressure therapy called adaptive servo-ventilation.