What is the difference between a Silent Stroke and a Major Stroke? Sleep Apnea linked to Silent Strokes – prevalence of silent strokes and the prevalence of OSA in 56 patients. Silent strokes have been linked to the onset of a major stroke. Silent strokes can only be detected by MRI or CT scan of the brain. According to the National Institutes of Health, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea. With an estimated 12 million Americans suffering from this disease, it is quickly becoming a national problem that is proven to lead to other very serious health diseases and issues.