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Sleep-disordered breathing and cardiac arrhythmias in adults: AHA guidance takeaways
American Heart Association (AHA) has issued a new statement that provides important guidance about association of development of cardiac arrhythmia with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).The statement provides data showing the potential value of how SDB treatment affects cardiac arrhythmias beneficially and thereby can improve patient outcomes.The guidance has been published...
American Heart Association (AHA) has issued a new statement that provides important guidance about association of development of cardiac arrhythmia with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).The statement provides data showing the potential value of how SDB treatment affects cardiac arrhythmias beneficially and thereby can improve patient outcomes.
The guidance has been published in Circulation.
Nearly 1 billion individuals worldwide suffer from SDB, characterized by alterations in breathing during sleep and associated with excessive cardiopulmonary morbidity. Studies have shown that the physiological stress of SDB has sustained biological effects, which alter the structure of the heart and increase risk for heart arrhythmias. In uncontrolled studies, treatment of SDB has been shown to reduce recurrence of arrhythmia after interventions such as catheter ablation and cardioversion for atrial fibrillation.
"Strong evidence indicates that sleep-disordered breathing can lead to severe health consequences, which can directly affect cardiac function," says Dr. Mehra, Director of Research in Cleveland Clinic's Sleep Disorders Center. "Our panel's data synthesis is designed to increase knowledge and awareness of the existing science in this area."
"The association of sleep apnea and obesity with atrial fibrillation has made identification and treatment of sleep-disordered breathing and weight loss an important part of lifestyle and risk factor reduction in the treatment of atrial fibrillation," adds Dr. Chung, staff cardiologist in the Section of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology in Cleveland Clinic's Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute. She also chaired the 2020 AHA scientific statement on lifestyle and risk factor modification for reduction of atrial fibrillation.
The evidence for the scientific statement came from data reviews conducted by the author panel from large retrospective and prospective trials. The statement was peer reviewed by outside experts in epidemiology and clinical, translational and experimental research focused on SDB or cardiac arrhythmias. The panel's findings are not formal clinical recommendations but rather considerations and suggestions for best clinical practice.
The panel's key conclusions include the following:
- Day-night patterning and circadian biology of SDB-induced consequences jointly influence the structural and electrophysiological structure of the heart, creating an ideal setting for cardiac arrhythmias to occur
- Cohort studies support strong associations between SDB and cardiac arrhythmia, providing evidence that discrete episodes of stopping breathing trigger atrial and ventricular arrhythmia events.
- Observational evidence suggests that treating SDB lessens AF recurrence after rhythm control interventions (such as ablation and cardioversion), but there is currently no high-level evidence from randomized trials supporting a role for SDB intervention in rhythm control.
- Opportunities exist to optimize SDB screening, characterize SDB predictive metrics and underlying pathophysiology, elucidate sex- and race/ethnicity-specific influences in SDB, assess the role of mobile health innovations, and prioritize conduct of rigorous and sufficiently powered clinical trials.
SDB subtypes relevant to the AHA document include obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), and CSA–Cheyne-Stokes breathing (CSB).
While noting that many observational studies suggest that treatment of SDB improves atrial fibrillation outcomes, the panel identifies confirmation of this association in randomized controlled trials as a research priority. "Currently there are only small or limited randomized studies that have addressed SDB and atrial fibrillation, and they have shown conflicting results," Dr. Chung says.
"We definitely need adequately powered, rigorously designed randomized controlled trials to ascertain whether intervening in patients with SDB actually improves arrhythmia outcomes," Dr. Mehra adds. "The bulk of the data we have are for atrial fibrillation, and research is needed on other arrhythmias and on the impact of other factors, such as health disparities."
Reena Mehra, Mina K. Chung, Brian Olshansky, Dobromir Dobrev, Chandra L. Jackson, Vaishnavi Kundel, Dominik Linz, Nancy S. Redeker, Susan Redline, Prashanthan Sanders, Originally published 1 Aug 2022 https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001082Circulation. 2022;0:CIR.0000000000001082
Dr Kamal Kant Kohli-MBBS, DTCD- a chest specialist with more than 30 years of practice and a flair for writing clinical articles, Dr Kamal Kant Kohli joined Medical Dialogues as a Chief Editor of Medical News. Besides writing articles, as an editor, he proofreads and verifies all the medical content published on Medical Dialogues including those coming from journals, studies,medical conferences,guidelines etc. Before Joining Medical Dialogues, he has served at important positions in the medical industry in India including as the Hony. Secretary of the Delhi Medical Association as well as the chairman of Anti-Quackery Committee in Delhi and worked with other Medical Councils in India. Email: email@example.com. Contact no. 011-43720751