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Original Research |

Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in Patients With Atrial FibrillationAtrial Fibrillation and Daytime Sleepiness

Felipe N. Albuquerque, MD; Andrew D. Calvin, MD, MPH; Fatima H. Sert Kuniyoshi, PhD; Tomas Konecny, MD; Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, MD; Gregg S. Pressman, MD; Thomas Kara, MD, PhD; Paul Friedman, MD; Naser Ammash, MD; Virend K. Somers, MD, PhD, FCCP; Sean M. Caples, DO
Author and Funding Information

From the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases (Drs Albuquerque, Calvin, Sert Kuniyoshi, Konecny, Lopez-Jimenez, Pressman, Kara, Friedman, Ammash, and Somers) and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (Dr Caples), Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Department of Internal Medicine (Dr Albuquerque), Hospital of Saint Raphael, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; Division of Cardiology (Dr Pressman), Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA; and ICRC-Department of Cardiovascular Diseases (Dr Kara), St. Anne’s University Hospital, Brno, Czech Republic.

Correspondence to: Sean M. Caples, DO, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905; e-mail: caples.sean@mayo.edu


Funding/Support: This work was supported by the Mayo Clinic Clinician-Investigator Training Program; Mayo Foundation; American Heart Association [Grant 04-50103Z]; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Grants HL65176, HL70302, HL73211, and HL099534]; the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) [Grant 1ULI RR024150], a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); IGA of Ministry of Health No. NS10098-4/2008; European Regional Development Fund-Project FNUSA-ICRC [No. CZ.1.05/1.1.00/02.0123]; and the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2012;141(4):967-973. doi:10.1378/chest.11-0975
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Background:  An important consequence of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). EDS often predicts a favorable response to treatment of SDB, although in the setting of cardiovascular disease, particularly heart failure, SDB and EDS do not reliably correlate. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is another highly prevalent condition strongly associated with SDB. We sought to assess the relationship between EDS and SDB in patients with AF.

Methods:  We conducted a prospective study of 151 patients referred for direct current cardioversion for AF who also underwent sleep evaluation and nocturnal polysomnography. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) was administered prior to polysomnography and considered positive if the score was ≥ 11. The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was tested for correlation with the ESS, with a cutoff of ≥ 5 events/h for the diagnosis of SDB.

Results:  Among the study participants, mean age was 69.1 ± 11.7 years, mean BMI was 34.1 ± 8.4 kg/m2, and 76% were men. The prevalence of SDB in this population was 81.4%, and 35% had EDS. The association between ESS score and AHI was low (R2 = 0.014, P = .64). The sensitivity and specificity of the ESS for the detection of SDB in patients with AF were 32.2% and 54.5%, respectively.

Conclusions:  Despite a high prevalence of SDB in this population with AF, most patients do not report EDS. Furthermore, EDS does not appear to correlate with severity of SDB or to accurately predict the presence of SDB. Further research is needed to determine whether EDS affects the natural history of AF or modifies the response to SDB treatment.

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