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The cat and the nap


A patient’s apnoea is discovered by his “owner”

We report the case of a 72-year-old man who presented to his general practitioner with cat scratch — not cat-scratch disease, but trauma to the face and nose caused by repeated savage night-time attacks perpetrated by none other than his trusty loyal cat. The patient had a history of stable coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, diabetic neuropathy and hypertension.

Why the cat would be doing this puzzled his GP, who concluded that perhaps the cat was witnessing something which it deemed required intervention. The GP subsequently requested overnight polysomnographic assessment. This revealed moderate obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) with an apnoea–hypopnoea index of 30, and bradycardia with 7-second cardiac pauses. Although 7-second cardiac pauses do not normally require cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the patient’s cat rushed in, knowing no better, to perform C(at)PR. Biting the nose that sneezes at you is not normally a recipe for success, but in this case it appears that the patient has had nine lives thanks to his cat. Happily, at routine follow-up after starting treatment with continuous positive airway pressure, the patient reported that the cat was no longer traumatising his face.

It is not unusual in a patient…