Thoracic and Sleep Group Queensland People caring for how you breathe and sleep

May 31, 2017

Respiratory Infections Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Attack

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 6:33 am

New research conducted at the University of Sydney in Australia found that the risk of having an acute myocardial infarction, commonly referred to as a heart attack, is 17 times higher in the seven days following a respiratory tract infection.

The study, “Triggering of acute myocardial infarction by respiratory infection,” was published in the Internal Medicine Journal.

According to the research team, this is the first study of its kind to find an association between respiratory infections such as pneumonia, influenza and bronchitis, and the risk of heart attack.

The study enrolled 578 patients with angiography-confirmed heart attacks due to coronary artery blockage. Participants were questioned regarding recent symptoms of respiratory infection including sore throat, cough, fever, sinus pain, flu-like symptoms, or if they had a confirmed diagnosis of pneumonia or bronchitis.

Exposure to respiratory infection prior to the onset of heart attack was then compared against the usual frequency of exposure in the past year.

Interestingly, the researchers found that 17% of patients reported symptoms consistent with a respiratory infection within seven days before the heart attack, and 21%  of patients reported respiratory symptoms within 31 days of the heart attack.

“Our findings confirm what has been suggested in prior studies that a respiratory infection can act as a trigger for a heart attack,” Geoffrey Tofler, MD, the study’s senior author said in a press release. Tofler is a professor and cardiologist at University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital and Heart Research Australia.

“The data showed that the increased risk of a heart attack isn’t necessarily just at the beginning of respiratory symptoms, it peaks in the first [seven] days and gradually reduces but remains elevated for one month.” Tofler added.

A secondary analysis limited to patients who reported only milder upper respiratory tract infection symptoms also was conducted and revealed an increased risk of heart attack by 13%.

“Although upper respiratory infections are less severe, they are far more common than lower respiratory tract symptoms. Therefore it is important to understand their relationship to the risk of heart attacks, particularly as we are coming into winter in Australia,” Tofler said.

Tofler believes that ”possible reasons for why respiratory infection may trigger a heart attack include an increased tendency toward blood clotting, inflammation and toxins damaging blood vessels, and changes in blood flow.”

The team concluded that future research is needed to develop improved treatment strategies, particularly for patients who are at an increased risk of heart attack.

“Our message to people is while the absolute risk that any one episode will trigger a heart attack is low, they need to be aware that a respiratory infection could lead to a coronary event. So consider preventative strategies where possible, and don’t ignore symptoms that could indicate a heart attack.” Tofler concluded.

This article appeared on


Wesley Emergency Centre

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — Trent Segal @ 5:23 am

Whether it’s a sudden accident, illness, injury or pain, the Wesley Emergency Centre is available 24/7, 365 days a year to patients of all ages. With low wait times and a comprehensive range of services available, you can be sure that your health is in the best hands.

“When every minute matters, choose Wesley”

Emergencies can happen at any unsuspecting time.  Chronic sleep and respiratory conditions can lead to sudden deterioration or exacerbation requiring hospitalisation.  During the winter months, infections are more likely and so it is important to see your doctor if you notice changes to your respiratory health.  This may be the difference between needing to go to hospital or not.

If you are unlucky enough to need an Emergency department, the Wesley Emergency Centre (WEC) is an important and trusted hospital service.

“Here when you need us. And even when you don’t.”

A comprehensive list of services means any condition can be treated within the Wesley by the highly skilled professional staff.  No one likes waiting to be seen and the low wait times at the WEC means you will be quickly triaged and rapidly treated for the best outcomes.

For more information, visit the website:


May 29, 2017

May 23, 2017

Have you heard of the Swiss Narcolepsy Scale?

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , — Phil Teuwen @ 7:03 am

Narcolepsy is categorised into two groups, narcolepsy with and without cataplexy. Cataplexy only exists in patients with narcolepsy, where narcolepsy does exist without cataplexy. Narcolepsy is routinely diagnosed with an MSLT and extensive physician review. Cerebral spinal fluid testing and genetic testing can be used to screen for narcolepsy, however the confirmation of narcolepsy is with the MSLT. The pharmaceutical benefits (PBS) for the pharmaceutical treatments of narcolepsy may also be impacted by the results of the MSLT.

The Swiss narcolepsy scale (SNS) is a simple self-reporting questionnaire that takes a couple of minutes to complete. The assessments that form this questionnaire may be similar to the types of questions a physician may use during a detailed patient history assessment of a patient with suspected narcolepsy.

SNS Measures frequency of 5 potential symptoms:
Q1 – Inability to fall asleep
Q2 – Feeling bad or not well rested in the morning
Q3 – Taking a nap during the day
Q4 – Weak knees/buckling of the knees during emotions such as laughing, happiness, or anger
Q5 – Sagging of the jaw during emotions such as laughing, happiness, or anger

Frequency for each behavioural complaint is rated on a 5-point scale, from 1, indicating “never,” to 5, indicating “almost always.” Each question is weighted by a positive or negative factor, with the score calculated using the following validated equation: (6×Q1 + 9×Q2 – 5×Q3 – 11×Q4 – 13×Q5+20).

An SNS score <0 is suggestive of narcolepsy with cataplexy

For more information on narcolepsy, the international classification of sleep disorders may have some useful information for you:

The original content for this article was found here:

May 22, 2017

Anti-aging treatment for Lungs

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , — Natalie Eriksson @ 5:05 am

In healthy young adults, breathing is an efficient process, however natural aging of the lung occurs at a steady and irreversible rate. This natural deterioration may lead to significantly reduced quality of life over a time frame, dependent on genetic and environmental factors. Although some available therapies can ameliorate symptoms, aging-related lung failure is generally irreversible and is accompanied by high rates of morbidity and mortality due to increased disease risk. This can include development of COPD, with accompanying emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Researchers from The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital have recently discovered a new potential approach for slowing age-related deterioration of lung function and structure by preserving alveolar epithelial type 2 cells (AEC2). AEC2 cells line Alveoli – the tiny air sacs in the lungs through which the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place – and produce surfactant which is vital for efficient breathing.

Using a rapidly aging mouse model, the research team investigated whether the accumulation of age-related degenerative changes in the lung could be slowed by inhaled Resveratrol (RSL). RSL, commonly thought of as an anti-aging factor found in red wine, is an antimicrobial chemical substance produced by plants to protect against infection and stress related changes.

Treatment cohorts received either RSL or vehicle by intratracheal (IT) instillation monthly for three months. One month following the final treatment, whole lung function and injury-related gene expression in AEC2 were assessed.

The research team found that inhaled, prophylactic resveratrol treatments can slow the rate of lung function decline, alveolar enlargement and alveolar epithelial type 2 cell DNA damage that occurs in the early stages of lung aging. They concluded that administration of resveratrol directly to the lungs may be an effective intervention for lung aging, which is a significant risk factor for development of chronic lung function disease.

Story Source:

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Resveratrol may be an effective intervention for lung aging.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2017. <>.

Journal Reference:

Sonia Navarro, Raghava Reddy, Jooeun Lee, David Warburton, Barbara Driscoll. Inhaled resveratrol treatments slow ageing-related degenerative changes in mouse lung. Thorax, 2017; thoraxjnl-2016-208964 DOI: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2016-208964

May 17, 2017

Lets talk about Somniloquy…

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , — Phil Teuwen @ 3:47 am

Have you heard of somniloquy? Its also known as sleep talking… and its defined as:

“is the utterance of speech or sounds during sleep without simultaneous subjective detailed awareness of the event.”

Or, in simple terms, it’s just talking while you are asleep and not being aware of it at the time. It is more common in men than in women, and more common in children than adults. It is also more likely to happen when we are really tired or fatigued, or in periods of stress. It can also run in families. Episodes of sleep talking don’t typically last very long, but may only last as long as one night or may even last for years. It is generally quiet, peaceful utterances, but anger, emotions and screaming have also been reported.

Realistically it’s pretty harmless, in that sleep talking has no physiological effects on the body other than slightly annoying those sleeping nearby. It can however also be a symptom of or associated with other parasomnias or sleep disorders such as sleep terrors, confusional arousals, obstructive sleep apnoea and REM behavior disorder. So if you do sleep talk, it may be worth having this investigated. So don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about sleep talking.

For more information visit:

May 9, 2017

World Road Safety Week

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — Trent Segal @ 2:19 am

It is the fourth United Nations World Road Safety week from 8-14th May 2017.  The primary message from the UN is to promote speed reduction, so how can we achieve this?

  • Safe drivers. Research shows that a 5% cut in average speed can result in a 30% reduction in the number of road fatalities.
  • Safe roads. Speed management should be part of every road design to ensure the speeds can be maintained and limits are set appropriately.
  • Safe vehicles. Make sure you keep your car in good condition. A car leaking oil can become a serious hazard to others sharing the road. Modern cars generally have improved safety technologies such as airbags and emergency braking systems.

We can all do our part to ensure we are safe drivers but this doesn’t stop at not speeding. Campaigns against drunk and drug driving have been advertised at times with shocking graphical content.

But what about driving tired, or driving with an untreated sleep disorder?

Research has shown that after sleep deprivation, drivers tend to drift significantly further from side to side on the road. Additionally reaction times are significantly reduced when sleep deprived.  A recent study looked at untreated sleep apnoea and driving performance over time.  They found that both healthy and untreated sleep apnoea sufferers drove similarly at the start of the drive, however during the course of the drive the performance degraded much more quickly in the group with sleep apnoea.

If you suspect you have a sleep disorder then visit your local GP to discuss your options or for referral to a sleep Physician. For more information on the UN road safety week visit their website.

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