2022 - Year in Review

Nina Sarkissian, Prof Martin Ugander, Prof Peter Cistulli, Dr Ben Harris and Dr Rebecca Kozor Novel study into cardiovascular disease and sleep apnoea With a disturbing number of people losing their lives to heart disease each year, researchers at RNSH launched the first study of its kind using MRI technology to broaden their understanding of the link between cardiovascular disease and sleep apnoea. The project was made possible following funding from the Ramsay Research Grant Program.

collaborating with RNSH Head of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Dr Ben Harris, and leading experts in cardiac imaging Professor Martin Ugander and Dr Rebecca Kozor. Professor Cistulli said obstructive sleep apnoea had been linked to the development of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, heart attack, atrial fibrillation and stroke – but there had been no randomised controlled trials confirming a causal link between the two. “Our CardioSleep Program will be unique, uniting three major disciplines of cardiology,

respiratory and sleep medicine, and radiology to develop a precision medicine approach,” he said. “We hope our project will provide definitive evidence of the relationship between sleep apnoea and cardiovascular disease, closing our existing gaps in knowledge and informing future treatment approaches. “This would define which patients are at greatest risk and require personalised treatment.”

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, killing one Australian every 12 minutes. Obstructive sleep apnoea is also increasing, and is now affecting around one billion people. Known as the ‘silent killer’, this chronic disease causes low oxygen levels, sleep disturbance and dangerous pressure inside the chest. RNSH respiratory and sleep medicine specialist Professor Peter Cistulli leads the study,

45 NSLHD 2022 Year in Review

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