New information from the American Heart Association (AHA) has provided new important guidelines about sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and cardiac arrhythmias.
SBD is often undiagnosed, but new research shows how it may be associated with developing cardiac arrhythmia.
Approximately 1 billion people suffer from SDB worldwide. Alterations in breathing during sleep characterize the condition. Previous studies have shown that the physiological stress of SDB has sustained biological effects, which alter the heart’s structure and raise the risk for heart arrhythmias. Treating SDB has shown reduced arrhythmia recurrence after interventions such as cardioversion for atrial fibrillation and catheter ablation.
Mounting evidence suggests that sleep-disordered breathing can lead to health consequences that can directly affect cardiac function. The relationship between sleep apnea and obesity with atrial fibrillation has created awareness to include lifestyle and risk factor reduction in treating atrial fibrillation.
The panel from a recent scientific statement issued their conclusions finding that SBD consequences influence the structural and electrophysiological structure of the heart, which creates an ideal setting for cardiac arrhythmias. Evidence of discrete episodes of stopping breathing also triggered atrial and ventricular arrhythmia events.
Currently, limited randomized studies have addressed SDB and atrial fibrillation, and they have shown conflicting results.
“We definitely need adequately powered, rigorously designed randomized controlled trials to ascertain whether intervening in patients with SDB actually improves arrhythmia outcomes,” said Dr. Mehra, Director of Research in Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorders Center “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.”
Maintaining Heart Health and Sleep Quality
Keeping the heart strong and healthy is vital for enjoying a high quality of life as you age. As this study shows, there can be a variety of factors that can influence cardiac health, including sleep.
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