Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Atrial Fibrillation: A Call for Increased Awareness and Effective Management

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Many studies have noted a correlation between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and atrial fibrillation (AF). Although there is a need for large randomized control trials, the present data are quite convincing and can be used to improve current treatment procedures. Reviews, randomized control trials, and meta-analyses were obtained using electronic search strategies such as Medline and Cochrane Library. References of electronically obtained studies were then used to conduct hand searches for additional relevant studies. Sources were deemed relevant if they discussed the relationship between AF and OSA in respect to incidence, mechanism, recurrence, or treatment. Selected sources were then stratified on the basis of quality. Correlations between OSA and AF are present, and OSA seems to lend itself to the development, progression, and post-ablation recurrence of AF. Treatment of OSA before ablation can help reduce AF recurrence, allowing for more efficient treatment of AF. It is thus important for physicians to monitor AF patients for OSA and monitor those with OSA for AF.

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