Sleep Apnea Boosts Risk of Atrial Fibrillation, Blood Clots Post-Op

HealthDay News — Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may increase risk of developing postoperative atrial fibrillation and venous thromboembolism, according to 2 new studies scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, held from Oct. 22 to 26 in Los Angeles.

One study looked at 209 patients having open-heart bypass surgery between 2013 and 2015 to see how a high risk for OSA affected the likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation afterward. Atrial fibrillation occurred among almost 70% of high-risk, untreated OSA patients, study author Samir Patel, MD, MPH, an internal medicine physician with Western Reserve Health Education in Youngstown, Ohio, told HealthDay. This compared with only about 41% of both the low-risk and diagnosed OSA patients.

In the second study, researchers led by Mohammed Aljasmi, MD, of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, looked at the postoperative risk for developing certain complications. Those undiagnosed but deemed at high risk of OSA faced significantly greater odds for developing venous thromboembolism.

“Patients with OSA [who] are not treated with continuous positive airway pressure demonstrate a higher risk for venous thromboembolism postoperatively,” the authors concluded. “This stresses the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of OSA prior to scheduled elective surgery.”

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