Early CPAP helps stroke recovery

Sleep apnoea treatment results in 'substantial clinical effect' in neurological function

Stroke patients recover better if they are treated for sleep apnoea as soon as possible after the cerebrovascular event, a study suggests.

Speech, neurological functioning, walking and other physical functions all improve significantly when patients are diagnosed and treated for sleep apnoea after a stroke or TIA compared with usual care, results of the randomised controlled trial show.

The neurological benefits of CPAP are even greater than those for tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), says lead author Dr Dawn Bravata, from the Regenstrief Institute and Roudebush VA Medical Centre in the US.

While the number needed to treat is 9.1 for stroke patients with tPA to achieve best neurological function, just 4.8 with sleep apnoea need CPAP treatment to achieve the same result, the authors report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

"That's a substantial clinical