Medical Field: Neurology
Award: Finalist
Country: Slovenia
Year: 2021
Research Work: Mixed Apnea Metrics in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Predict Treatment-Emergent Central Sleep Apnea
Published in: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine


The nomination is a recognition of my work so far and a motivation for the future.


The nomination for the International Medis Awards in the field of Neurology really surprised Katja Pavšič, MD, PhD, resident of neurology in the Department of Neurology at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia. She is happy that her research has gained international recognition and gives her additional motivation for her future projects.

During her PhD, she focused on breathing disorders and sleep-related breathing disorders, investigating factors associated with central sleep apnea requiring treatment. 

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep-related breathing disorder that can be successfully treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Some patients develop central sleep apnea requiring treatment (TE-CSA) after starting CPAP treatment, but the risk factors for this phenomenon remain unclear. Our aim was to determine the characteristics and predictors of treatment after initiation of CPAP therapy in patients with prevalent obstructive sleep apnea. By analysing several parameters derived from mixed apnea breathing cycles from diagnostic polysomnography, we found that the occurrence of "CPAP-emergent" TE-CSA is associated with parameters indicative of respiratory control instability.

The study highlights that the pathophysiology of obstructive sleep apnea can be multifaceted and extends beyond recurrent upper airway collapse, warranting further research and potentially new, individualised treatment approaches.