Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is a disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep. In some cases, breathing is very shallow. Central sleep apnea occurs because the brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. CSA is different from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a mechanical problem in which the airway is blocked.


Often, it is not known what causes the CSA. Sometimes, CSA occurs among people who are ill from other medical conditions:

  • Chronic heart failure
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Severe arthritis


Symptoms for central sleep apnea are for the most part the same as those for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA):

  • Loud, excessive snoring during which you may gasp for air
  • Bed partner tells you that you snore
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless sleep

But a person with CSA may also have:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Voice changes
  • Sense of weakness and numbness


A thorough sleep study with polysomnography (PSG) will show whether the lapses in breathing result from airway blockage or irregular signals from the brain.


If the CSA is caused by another illness, the physician or medical team may be able to treat the accompanying illness and reduce or eliminate the CSA.

Many people with CSA may find relief with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy alone.

Next Steps

Please call 734-936-9068 to schedule a clinic visit.

We will need a referral from your physician before your appointment. We look forward to helping you resolve your sleep issues.