Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment Effects in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation

obstructive sleep apnea, CPAP machine, sleep
A survey was conducted to determine clinical practices among cardiologists managing patients with obstructive sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation.

A majority of cardiologists who responded to a survey believe that among patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), outcomes are improved with the combination of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) treatment and AF treatment vs AF treatment alone. Among the same surveyed cardiologists, a minority referred AF patients for OSA screening, half of whom had OSA. Among these patients, slightly more than half were prescribed continuous airway pressure. These were among the survey results published in the International Journal of Cardiology Heart and Vasculature.

Investigators sought to determine whether clinical practice and equipoise are linked among cardiologists regarding patients with AF and the benefit of diagnosing and treating OSA to improve AF outcomes.

They conducted a survey of practicing cardiologists in 16 countries between January 2019 and June 2020. More than a third of the global 863 responses were from cardiologists in the US and Japan. Nearly half of the 863 self-reported as general cardiologists, and nearly a quarter as electrophysiologists. Among respondents, a third referred AF patients for OSA testing. Among those referred patients, 48% were diagnosed with OSA. Among those 48% diagnosed with OSA, 59% were prescribed continuous airway pressure (CPAP).

Almost three quarters of the respondents indicated the need for randomized controlled trials of OSA treatment in patients with AF and expressed willingness to contribute to these trials.

Survey limitations include the extremely low response rate leading to nonresponse bias and late-response bias.

“Our results underscore the need for larger, multi-national prospective studies of OSA treatment and AF outcomes to inform more uniform society guideline recommendations,” the study authors noted.

Disclosure: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Faulx MD, Mehra R, Reis Geovanini G, et al; International Collaboration of Sleep Apnea Cardiovascular Trialists INCOSACT. Obstructive sleep apnea and its management in patients with atrial fibrillation: An International Collaboration of Sleep Apnea Cardiovascular Trialists (INCOSACT) global survey of practicing cardiologists. Int J Cardiol Heart Vasc. Published online July 19, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.ijcha.2022.101085

This article originally appeared on The Cardiology Advisor