Background: Although the link between sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and atrial fibrillation (AF) has been reported, a population-based longitudinal cohort study was lacking. The goal of the present study was to investigate the AF risk carried by SDB, using the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan.
Methods and Results: From 2000 to 2001, a total of 579,521 patients who had no history of cardiac arrhythmias or significant comorbidities were identified. Among them, 4,082 subjects with the diagnosis of SDB were selected as the study group, and the remaining 575,439 subjects constituted the control group. The study endpoint was the occurrence of new-onset AF. During a follow-up of 9.2±2.0 years, there were 4,023 patients (0.7%) experiencing new-onset AF. The occurrence rate of AF was higher in patients with SDB compared to those without it (1.3% vs. 0.7%, P<0.001). The AF incidences were 1.38 and 0.76 per 1,000 person-years for patients with and without SDB, respectively. After anadjustment for age and sex, SDB was a significant risk factor of AF with a hazard ratio of 1.536. The AF risk increased with increasing clinical severity of SDB, represented by the requirement of continuous positive airway pressure use.
Conclusions: SDB itself, without the coexistence of other systemic diseases, was a risk factor of AF.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Sleep-disordered breathing