MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Chinitz: The treatment algorithms proposed currently for maintenance of sinus rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation focus on use of anti-arrhythmic drugs and catheter ablation. Data available to evaluate the effect of modification of known adverse clinical factors on atrial fibrillation recurrence is scant.
Obstructive sleep apnea in a known factor associated with both new onset atrial fibrillation as well as its recurrence after catheter ablation. Through a meta-analysis of available data we found that use of continuous positive airway pressure in patients with sleep apnea was associated with a 42% relative risk reduction in recurrence of atrial fibrillation. This effect was similar across patient groups irrespective of whether they were medically managed or with catheter ablation.
MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Chinitz: Treatment of Obstructive sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure is a significant means to reduce atrial fibrillation recurrence. Thus, sleep apnea should be suspected in patients with atrial fibrillation and in patients with its confirmed diagnosis, use of continuous positive airway pressure should be strongly advocated with the intention to reduce recurrence of atrial fibrillation.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Chinitz: Randomized clinical trials are necessary to shed more light on the interaction between use of continuous positive airway pressure use and atrial fibrillation recurrence in patients with sleep apnea.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Clinical Electrophysiology, news release, April 20, 2015
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Larry Chinitz MD (2015). CPAP For Sleep Apnea May Decrease Atrial Fibrillation Recurrence