Central Sleep Apnea

Types of Central Sleep Apnea

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is a sleep disorder characterized by a lack of drive to breathe during sleep, insufficient or absent ventilation and compromised oxygen/carbon dioxide levels. CSA can also affect the respiratory drive while awake, as it is the result of the brain failing to send the proper signals to the phrenic nerves to control breathing. Central Sleep Apnea can be a congenital or acquired condition, with the acquired condition typically being the result of a brain stem stroke, tumor or other trauma. There are also adults with Central Sleep Apnea who were simply not diagnosed when younger, and do not learn of the condition until later in life.

There are multiple types of sleep apneas, including:


Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome

also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, a combination of OSA and central sleep apnea.


Central sleep apnea

characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, is a result of the brain not correctly using the neurological pathways to the diaphragm.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSA)

 a more common form of sleep apnea that occurs when something partially or completely blocks the airway during sleep.

* Central Sleep Apnea differs from Obstructive Sleep Apnea which is characterized by a physical disruption of airflow in spite of respiratory effort, and is less common than obstructive sleep apnea.

Risk Factors and Related Conditions

Central Sleep Apnea can affect patients of all ages. However, there are statistical factors that coincide with a potentially higher risk of patients developing the condition, including:

  • Being Male: As they are more likely to develop the condition than females
  • Older Age:  Especially adults over 65 years of age
  • Having a Heart Condition:  Such as an irregular heartbeat
  • Cheyne-Stokes Breathing
  • Opioid Use:  In any capacity
  • Suffering From a Brainstem Lesion, Stroke, or Brain Tumor:  Any of which can potentially impair the ability to regulating breathing
  • Use Of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine:  Which is known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea 

What are The Symptoms Of Central Sleep Apnea?

Only a licensed physician can properly diagnose central sleep apnea. If you believe you have symptoms related to Central Sleep Apnea, make an appointment with your doctor so that you can discuss proper diagnosis and, if needed, potential treatment options. CSA and OSA share a number of symptoms, which can make diagnosing which type of sleep apnea a patient has difficult. 

The more common symptoms include:

• Episodes of Not Breathing During Sleep
• Waking Up with Headache and/or Dry Mouth
• Daytime Sleepiness
• Sudden Awakenings Followed by Shortness of Breath

Assistance for Central Sleep Apnea

How Is Central Sleep Apnea Treated?

Treatment for Central Sleep Apnea must be conducted under the care of your physician. There are several options for managing the effects of Central Sleep Apnea that physicians will often suggest.

These Treatments Include:


A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine that provides enough pressure to keep the upper airway open via a mask.

Diaphragm Pacing

A minimally invasive process that stimulates the phrenic nerve so that the patient can breathe more naturally.

The Avery Diaphragm Pacemaker is an FDA-approved diaphragm pacing device that promotes natural breathing in patients with Central Sleep Apnea.

How Does The Avery System Compare?

There are currently two surgical options for Central Sleep Apnea.  See how the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System compares to the competition and read about the Avery Advantages:

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