Exploring Atrial Fibrillation Prevalence in OSA Patients: New Study Reveals Interesting Insights.

Sleep Apnea and Heart Health: Unveiling Risks and Solutions

Diving into the intricate relationship between sleep apnea and heart health, this exploration titled ‘Sleep Apnea and Heart Health: Unveiling Risks and Solutions’ delves into the challenges and potential solutions that lie at the intersection of these two crucial aspects of well-being. A new research project is happening right now to understand why people with sleep apnea might have a higher risk of heart problems. This study is looking at the hearts of 100 patients with sleep apnea to figure out what might be causing this risk.

The British Heart Foundation is supporting this study with almost $340,000 USD. The University of Warwick and the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust have been working together on this project for three years.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder. People with sleep apnea often stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Doctors usually treat it using a machine that helps keep the airway open. This machine is called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. While it helps people sleep better and feel less tired during the day, it doesn’t seem to lower the risk of heart problems.

Researchers want to find out if people with sleep apnea are more likely to have heart rhythm problems. One common heart rhythm problem is called atrial fibrillation. This happens when the heart’s upper chambers don’t beat regularly. Instead, they shake or twitch. This can increase the chances of having a stroke or heart problems.

To learn more about the connection between sleep apnea and heart rhythm issues, the researchers are putting small devices under the skin of the patients. These devices will keep track of the heart’s rhythm all the time. They will also use portable devices to monitor heart rhythms more easily.

All the patients in the study will use the CPAP machine as part of their normal treatment. Another group of 100 patients will also use the machine but won’t have their hearts monitored at the same time.

Professor Faizel Osman, a heart expert, is leading the study. He wants to find irregular heart rhythms that might not be noticed otherwise. He says, “We want to know how often heart rhythm problems happen in people with sleep apnea. This could help us take better care of them and maybe save lives.”

The study chose patients from Coventry and Warwickshire who have sleep apnea but no known heart rhythm problems at the beginning.

One person in the study is Leo Smith. He lives in Warwickshire and has been dealing with sleep apnea for a long time. He only recently found out he had it. Even though sleep apnea doesn’t really bother him, he joined the study to help researchers understand more about its effects on the heart.

Leo explains, “I sometimes stop breathing while I’m asleep, and I don’t even know it’s happening. But I’m worried about how it might affect my heart. That’s why I agreed to have a device put under my skin to monitor my heart.”

Despite having other health problems, like a collapsed spine, Leo is happy to help with the study. He found out about his sleep apnea when doctors noticed he stopped breathing during a medical procedure.

Leo says, “Even though I have other health issues, I’m always open to what the doctors suggest. My heart might be strong, but I know it’s important to take care of it.”

In the end, this study wants to find out more about the connection between sleep apnea and heart problems. If they learn more, it could become common for doctors to monitor the hearts of people with sleep apnea to keep them healthy. Leo and others in the study hope this research can help improve medical knowledge and keep people safe.

Sleep Apnea and Heart Health: Unveiling Risks and Solutions


Staff, S. R. (2023, August 14). How Prevalent is Atrial Fibrillation in OSA Patients? A New Study Investigates. Sleep Review. https://sleepreviewmag.com/sleep-disorders/breathing-disorders/obstructive-sleep-apnea/prevalent-atrial-fibrillation-osa-patients-study-investigates/

Sankaranarayanan, R., Bansal, A., Yanamaladoddi, V. R., Sarvepalli, S. S., Vemula, S. L., Aramadaka, S., & Mannam, R. (2023). Atrial fibrillation in obstructive sleep apnea patients: Mechanisms, risk factors, and management strategies. Cureus. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.36282

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