Sleeping pills: Dangerous for people with heart failure

Sleeping pills: Dangerous for people with heart failure

Sleeping pills: Dangerous for people with heart failure

Sleeping pills: Dangerous for people with heart failure

Munich (netdoktor.de) – Sleeping pills can harm people with heart failure: In some, the slumber pills multiply the risk for heart complications. This is fatal – because “sleep problems are a common side effect in heart failure,” explains Masahiko Setoguvci of the Tokyo Yamate Medical Center. Therefore, they often take sleeping pills.

Sleeping pills: Dangerous for people with heart failure

Disturbed sleep

For the study, the scientist and his colleagues observed a total of 111  heart failure patients admitted to the Tokyo Yamate Medical Center between 2011 and 2013. The study authors divided the participants into two groups. The first group included 47 patients whose cardiac output was still normal. Although their hearts were already weakened, the organ could compensate for this – for example, by enlarging it. In the 64 patients of the second group, the heart did not manage to do this any more – ejection performance already reduced them.

After 180 days at the latest, the scientists re-examined the patients. A total of 39 participants survived the study without major complications, including 24 with and 15 without reduced output of the heart. The remainder were admitted to the hospital because of complications during the investigation period – others died.

Sleeping pills: Dangerous for people with heart failure

Eightfold increased risk

An evaluation of the data showed that part of the subjects who had been prescribed the hypnotic benzodiazepine on their first hospital stay had an eight times higher risk of cardiovascular complications. Interestingly enough, these were patients of the first group whose cardiac output was a little better.

The scientists have several possible explanations for the phenomenon ready: Thus, the sleeping pills could lower the cardiac output directly. It would also be conceivable, however, that the disturbed  respiration  during sleep, which affects many heart failure patients, is further worsened by the medication. That too could damage the heart.

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Sleeping pills: Dangerous for people with heart failure

Dramatically increased risk

“Our study clearly shows that sleeping pills dramatically increase the risk of cardiovascular events in people with heart failure,” says Setoguvci. Given that many heart failure  patients have sleep disorders , the relationship needs to be further explored in larger studies.

Patients with reduced ejection performance did not show the phenomenon. Why, the researchers still can not explain.

One thing is already clear: Doctors who treat patients with heart failure should be reluctant to prescribe sleeping pills. At least, however, patients who are still taking sleeping pills should be monitored with particular care.

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