Previously Undetected Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Patients with New-Onset Atrial Fibrillation.

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Obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSA) compromises the efficacy of atrial fibrillation (AF) control strategies. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may ameliorate arrhythmia control especially in early AF stages (new-onset AF). We investigated a practical screening strategy to determine the likelihood of CPAP indication in new-onset AF patients. Seventy-seven consecutive patients with new-onset (< 1 month) AF were prospectively evaluated. Of them, 4 were excluded due to previously diagnosed OSA. The remaining 73 (68% persistent AF) fulfilled the Epworth, Berlin and STOP-BANG questionnaires, an ambulatory polysomnography being performed thereafter in all them in order to determine the apnea-hipopnea index (AHI). CPAP was indicated following conventional criteria. The variables associated with the diagnosis of OSA, with the AHI value and with CPAP indication were investigated by means of descriptive, univariate and multivariate analysis. The prevalence of OSA of any degree and CPAP indication was 82% and 37%, respectively. The variables associated (p < 0.05) with a higher AHI were male gender, body mass index, obesity, hypertension and high-risk scoring at the Berlin and STOP-BANG questionnaires. In the multivariate analysis, the STOP-BANG scoring proved superior to conventional risk factors and became the only variable predicting CPAP indication (OR 4.5 [1.9 - 10.6]; p = 0.01), an optimized cutoff value of ≥ 4 being newly established (sensitivity/specificity 76/65%). In conclusion, in patients referred with new-onset AF we documented a high risk of OSA and of need for CPAP. A STOP-BANG scoring of ≥ 4 in our population was a practical screening alternative to direct polysomnography in this setting.

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