Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is often associated with atrial fibrillation (AF), but the impact of radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) for AF on sleep apnea syndrome is unknown.
Methods and results: A total of 25 patients (3 women; 61 ± 6 years) with sleep apnea syndrome who underwent RFCA for drug-refractory, persistent AF were studied. Polysomnography was also performed 1 day before and 1 week after RFCA in all patients. The total number of central or OSA or hypopnea events was analyzed and compared. Among the 25 patients who all predominantly had obstructive apnea, the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI; median, 21, interquartile range [IQR]: 11-38 to median 15, IQR: 7-23; P=0.002) and obstructive type of apnea (median 10, IQR: 6-19 to median 7, IQR: 2-14; P=0.003) decreased after RFCA. In patients in whom sinus rhythm was restored and maintained after RFCA, the AHI decreased after RFCA (median 22, IQR: 15-38 to median 15, IQR: 7-23; P<0.01), but it did not in those who had AF recurrence (median 10, IQR: 9-11 to median 11, IQR: 10-16; P<0.05). There was a significant correlation between the outcome of RFCA and % change in the AHI (rs=0.569, P=0.003).
Conclusions: In patients with sleep apnea syndrome and AF, restoring sinus rhythm by RFCA was significantly associated with a decrease in AHI (Clinical Trial Registration: Trial number, UMIN000005538).