High prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in patients with resistant paroxysmal atrial fibrillation after pulmonary vein isolation

Friedrich Felix Hoyer, Lars Martin Lickfett, Erica Mittmann-Braun, Charlotte Ruland, Jens Kreuz, Stefan Pabst, Jan Schrickel, Uwe Juergens, Selcuk Tasci, Georg Nickenig, Dirk Skowasch
Journal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology: An International Journal of Arrhythmias and Pacing 2010, 29 (1): 37-41

OBJECTIVES: To address the question whether obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with the recurrence of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients treated with ≥2 pulmonary vein isolation procedures.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: In this study, we included adults with therapy-resistant symptomatic paroxysmal AF, defined as AF recurring after ≥2 PV-isolation procedures (n = 23). For comparison, we selected another cohort of patients being successfully treated by one PV isolation without AF recurrence within 6 months (n = 23). PV isolation was performed by radiofrequency with an open irrigated tip catheter. Each of the 46 participants completed an overnight polygraphic study. The two groups were matched for age, gender, and ejection fraction. Patients were late middle-aged (65 ± 7 vs 63 ± 10 years, P = 0.23), white (100%), and overweight (BMI 27.3 ± 3.6 vs. 27.2 ± 4.6 kg/m(2), P = 0.97).

RESULTS: The prevalence of sleep apnea, defined as an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of >5 per hour of sleep, was 87% in patients with therapy-resistant AF compared to 48% in the control cohort (P = 0.005). In addition, OSA was more severe in the resistant AF group indicated by a significantly higher AHI (27 ± 22 vs 12 ± 16, P = 0.01).

CONCLUSION: The extraordinarily high prevalence of sleep apnea in patients with recurrent paroxysmal AF supports its presumable role in the pathogenesis of AF and demands further controlled prospective trials. Moreover, OSA should inherently be considered in patients with therapy-resistant AF.


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