The association between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and atrial fibrillation (AF) is strong and is now well established. However, studies on the role of OSA on AF recurrence after catheter ablation have yielded conflicting results. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of OSA on AF recurrence after catheter-based pulmonary vein isolation. We performed a data search on the PubMed, Web of Science, and the Cochrane databases for studies published by August 2010. In addition, we manually searched the conference proceedings of the European Society of Cardiology, American College of Cardiology, and American Heart Association for related abstracts. After the initial search returned 402 reports, we identified 6 studies with a total of 3,995 patients that met our inclusion criteria. Overall, patients with OSA have a 25% greater risk of AF recurrence after catheter ablation than those without OSA (risk ratio 1.25, 95% confidence interval 1.08 to 1.45, p = 0.003). Subgroup analysis showed that OSA diagnosed using polysomnography is a strong predictor of AF recurrence (risk ratio 1.40, 95% confidence interval 1.16 to 1.68, p = 0.0004) but not when OSA was diagnosed using the Berlin questionnaire (risk ratio 1.07, 95% confidence interval 0.91 to 1.27, p = 0.39). In conclusion, patients with OSA have significantly greater AF recurrence rates after pulmonary vein isolation. In addition to other factors, a diagnosis of OSA merits special consideration when evaluating patients for catheter-based AF ablation.
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