Implications of obstructive sleep apnea for atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac death

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2008 Sep;19(9):997-1003. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8167.2008.01136.x. Epub 2008 Mar 21.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder with important cardiovascular consequences, including arrhythmogenesis. The unique pathophysiology of OSA results in multiple intermediate mechanisms that may promote atrial fibrillation, ventricular arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death. These mechanisms may act acutely to trigger nocturnal dysrhythmias, or chronically by affecting the electrical and myocardial substrates. Burgeoning epidemiological data have identified an increased risk for atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac death related to OSA. Currently, few data exist to support the efficacy of OSA therapy, namely continuous positive airway pressure, as an adjunct for arrhythmia prevention or management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / mortality*
  • Causality
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / trends*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / mortality*
  • Survival Rate