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The Relationship between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Atrial Fibrillation: A Complex Interplay

Jacqueline M Latina, N A Mark Estes, Ann C Garlitski
Pulmonary Medicine 2013, 2013: 621736
23533751
In recent years, growing evidence suggests an association between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a common sleep breathing disorder which is increasing in prevalence as the obesity epidemic surges, and atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common cardiac arrhythmia. AF is a costly public health problem increasing a patient's risk of stroke, heart failure, and all-cause mortality. It remains unclear whether the association is based on mutual risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension, or whether OSA is an independent risk factor and causative in nature. This paper explores the pathophysiology of OSA which may predispose to AF, clinical implications of stroke risk in this cohort who display overlapping disease processes, and targeted treatment strategies such as continuous positive airway pressure and AF ablation.

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