Previously we described how those with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) have a 4-fold increased risk of Atrial Fibrillation (AF)… and how it also significantly increases the risk of recurrence to AF even after procedures such as cardioversion and cardiac ablation.
There is now evidence that treating OSA with CPAP can significantly decrease AF recurrence.
Shukla et al performed a meta-analysis across seven large cardiac studies, totalling over 1000 patients with OSA+AF. If you have OSA+AF, and use CPAP, then your relative risk (RR) is reduced by a tremendous 42%. This was completely independent of whether or not you underwent cardiac ablation!
This confirms our understanding of why OSA is such an important and underestimated condition. CPAP prevents atrial fibrillation recurrence in those with OSA.
We recommend that everyone with AF should consider an in-hospital sleep study.