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J Cardiol. 2010 Mar;55(2):211-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jjcc.2009.10.010. Epub 2009 Dec 10.

Sleep apnea and ventricular arrhythmias: Clinical outcome, electrophysiologic characteristics, and follow-up after catheter ablation.

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Department of Cardiology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennoudai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8575, Japan.



Sleep apnea is highly prevalent in patients with heart disease. However, the association between sleep apnea and ventricular arrhythmias is unclear. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between sleep apnea and electrophysiologic characteristics and clinical outcome after catheter ablation in patients having ventricular arrhythmias.


Forty-four patients with ventricular tachycardia (VT) or premature ventricular complexes (PVCs) without structural heart diseases (57% men; mean age: 55 + or - 15 years) underwent a sleep study. Subjects with an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) > or = 10/h were considered to have sleep apnea. Electrophysiologic studies were performed on all patients, and 35 patients underwent catheter ablation therapy. Seventeen patients (39%) had sleep apnea with an average AHI of 27 + or - 17/h. Electrophysiologic characteristics of ventricular arrhythmias showed that sites of VT/PVCs origin in the pulmonary artery and the aortic sinus of Valsalva were detected in 27% and 20% patients with sleep apnea, which was a relatively higher rate than that in patients without sleep apnea (8% and 0%, respectively). Successful catheter ablation was achieved in 11 patients (85%) with sleep apnea and 17 (77%) without sleep apnea. During a mean follow-up period of 13.5 + or - 7.3 months after catheter ablation, 5 patients (45%) with sleep apnea and 1 patient (6%) without sleep apnea experienced recurrent VT/PVCs. Comparing the outcome between the two groups, the VT/PVCs recurrence rate was significantly higher in patients with sleep apnea than in those without sleep apnea (p=0.02).


Ventricular arrhythmia patients with sleep apnea have a high recurrence of arrhythmias after successful catheter ablation. Patients with ventricular arrhythmias should be systematically assessed for sleep apnea owing to the potential detrimental effects of sleep apnea in the follow-up period.

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