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Sleep. 2005 Dec;28(12):1543-6.

Association between atrial fibrillation and central sleep apnea.

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1
Sleep Research Laboratory of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We previously described an association between atrial fibrillation and central sleep apnea in a group of patients with congestive heart failure. We hypothesized that the prevalence of atrial fibrillation might also be increased in patients with central sleep apnea in the absence of other cardiac disease.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

We compared the prevalence of atrial fibrillation in a series of 60 consecutive patients with idiopathic central sleep apnea (apnea-hypopnea index > 10 events per hour, > 50% central events) with that in 60 patients with obstructive sleep apnea (apnea-hypopnea index > 10, > 50% obstructive events) and 60 patients without sleep apnea (apnea-hypopnea index < 10), matched for age, sex, and body mass index. Subjects with a history of congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, or stroke were excluded from the study. The prevalence of atrial fibrillation among patients with idiopathic central sleep apnea was found to be significantly higher than the prevalence among patients with obstructive sleep apnea or no sleep apnea (27%, 1.7%, and 3.3%, respectively, P < .001). However, hypertension was most common and oxygen desaturation most extreme among patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

CONCLUSIONS:

We conclude that there is a markedly increased prevalence of atrial fibrillation among patients with idiopathic central sleep apnea in the absence of congestive heart failure. Moreover, the high prevalence of atrial fibrillation among patients with idiopathic central sleep apnea is not explainable by the presence of hypertension or nocturnal oxygen desaturation, since both of these were more strongly associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

PMID:
16408413
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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