Reduced Recurrence of Atrial Fibrillation via Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy

In a recent study presented at the American College of Cardiology 71st Scientific Sessions & Expo, researchers evaluated whether continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) decreased recurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF), and judged that it yielded no difference in “AF recurrence or burden evaluated by [implantable loop recorder (ILR)] regardless of OSA presence or treatment with CPAP during a 2.5-year follow-up.”

In the study, led by primary author Matthew Saberito, the investigators enrolled 111 consecutive patients with AF who had an ILR and who underwent OSA evaluation. Severity of OSA was based on current guidelines, and treatment compliance was defined as usage of >70%. Patients were categorized into one of three groups: not on CPAP, CPAP compliant, or non-CPAP compliant. Efficacy measures were based on AF burden as described by the ILR.

The study article reported that there was no difference in CPAP usage based on OSA severity rating (p = 0.409). Over the study’s follow-up period of 837 (±483) days, AF recurred in 79 (71%) of the participants, with a burden of 0.67% (0.05–4.94%). Notably, there were no differences in recurrence, burden, and interventions between the CPAP groups.

In short, the study’s authors concluded that their data supported recent publications which challenged the notion that treatment of OSA could decrease AF recurrence. They also presented their data to fill what they found to be a lack of continuous monitoring data on AF recurrence in patients with OSA undergoing treatment.

Saberito M, et al. Does Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Improve Burden of Atrial Fibrillation? Paper presented at: 71st Scientific Session & Expo of the American College of Cardiology; April 2-4, 2022; Washington, DC.