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Objectives: To conducted a meta-analysis assessing the relationship between Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and the risk of Atrial Fibrillation (AF).
Methods: We searched PUBMED, Medline, and Cochrane Library using the keywords “atrial fibrillation”, “obstructive sleep apnea” and “sleep disordered breathing (SDB)”. All subjects included had established diagnosis of OSA/SDB. We then compared the occurrence of AF versus no AF. Analysis done with Comprehensive Meta- Analysis package V3 (Biostat, USA).
Results: A total of 579 results were generated. Duplicates were removed and 372 records were excluded based on irrelevant abstracts, titles, study design not consistent with the stated outcome, or full-text unavailable. Twelve studies meeting the inclusion criteria were reviewed in full-text; 2 of these articles were eventually removed due to unconfirmed OSA diagnostic modality, and one was also removed based on a control group inconsistent with the other studies. Therefore, a total of 9 studies were included (n=19,837). Sample sizes ranged from n=160 patients to n=6841 patients. The risk of AF was found to be higher among OSA/SDB versus control group (OR; 2.120, C.I: 1.845- 2.436, Z; 10.598 p: <0.001). The heterogeneity observed for the pooled analysis was Q-value; 22.487 df (Q); 8 P-value; 0.004, I-squared; 64.424 Tau2; 0.098, suggesting appropriate study selection and moderate heterogeneity.
Conclusion: OSA/SDB is strongly associated with AFib confirming the notion that OSA/SDB populations are high risk for development of AF. Prospective studies are needed to ascertain the effect of the treatment of OSA/SDB for the prevention of AF, a growing health burden with serious consequences.