Dr. Douglas Bradley

As senior investigator and Director, Sleep Research Laboratories at Toronto Rehab Institute and Toronto General Hospital, and Director, Division of Respirology at University of Toronto, Dr. Douglas Bradley conducts ground-breaking research which helps improve quality of life for individuals with heart disease and stroke.

Many people are not aware of the connection between being very sleepy during the day time and sleep apnea. The consequences of sleep apnea can be serious: increased risk to high blood pressure, strokes, heart failure and traffic accidents.

Dr. Bradley and his colleagues found that stroke patients have a much higher prevalence of sleep apnea than the general population. Furthermore, among stroke patients, those with sleep apnea were more disabled and spent more time in rehabilitation than those who did not have the sleep apnea. Subsequently, they demonstrated that treating sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) improved recovery from stroke, especially by improving mobility.

In conjunction with Toronto General and Mount Sinai Hospitals, Dr. Bradley and his team also showed that sleep apnea is very common in patients with heart failure. They demonstrated that obstructive sleep apnea is a previously unrecognized contributor to the development and worsening of heart failure and that treating sleep apnea with CPAP in such patients improved heart function.

The Clifford Nordal Chair in Sleep Apnea and Rehabilitation Research will allow Dr. Bradley’s to extend his current work to enhance care and quality of life and relieve the burden of sleep apnea and its cardiovascular complications on the health care system.

“This chair will allow me to enhance sleep apnea research particularly in the rehabilitation of chronic cardiovascular diseases. Treating co-existing sleep apnea in these conditions therefore has the potential to improve prognosis,” says Dr. Bradley. “I plan to expand research in these areas at Toronto Rehab by promoting and completing large-scale initiatives, translating research findings into clinical practice, and attracting new investigators into this field.”

The creation of the Clifford Nordal Chair provides an exciting opportunity to further Toronto Rehab’s international leadership in sleep apnea and rehabilitation research.

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