Impact of obstructive sleep apnea and continuous positive airway pressure therapy on outcomes in patients with atrial fibrillation-Results from the Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (ORBIT-AF)

Am Heart J. 2015 May;169(5):647-654.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2014.12.024. Epub 2015 Feb 7.


Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is common in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Little is known about the impact of OSA on AF treatment and long-term outcomes. We studied whether patients with OSA have a greater likelihood of progressing to more persistent forms of AF or require more hospitalizations and/or worse outcomes compared with patients without OSA.

Methods: A total of 10,132 patients were enrolled between June 2010 and August 2011 in the Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (ORBIT-AF) and followed for up to 2 years. The prevalence of OSA and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment was captured at baseline. The association between OSA and major cardiovascular outcomes was analyzed using multivariable hierarchical logistic regression modeling and Cox frailty regression model.

Results: Of the 10,132 patients with AF, 1,841 had OSA. Patients with OSA were more symptomatic (22% vs 16% severe/disabling symptoms; P < .0001) and more often on rhythm control therapy (35% vs 31%; P = .0037). In adjusted analyses, patients with OSA had higher risk of hospitalization (hazard ratio [HR], 1.12; 95% CI, 1.03-1.22; P = .0078), but no difference in the risks of death (HR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.77-1.15; P = .54); the composite of CV death, myocardial infarction, and stroke/transient ischemic attack (HR, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.85-1.34; P = .57); major bleeding (HR, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.96-1.46; P = .11); or AF progression (HR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.89-1.28; P = .51). Patients with OSA on CPAP treatment were less likely to progress to more permanent forms of AF compared with patients without CPAP (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.46-0.94; P = .021).

Conclusion: Compared with those without, AF patients with OSA have worse symptoms and higher risks of hospitalization, but similar mortality, major adverse cardiovascular outcome, and AF progression rates.

Clinical trial registration: NCT01165710 (

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation / complications*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy

Associated data