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Volume 14 No. 11
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Accepted Papers

Case Reports

Improvement in Sleep-Disordered Breathing Indices Downloaded From a Positive Airway Pressure Machine Following Conversion of Atrial Fibrillation to Sinus Rhythm

Ken Monahan, MD1; Raghu Upender, MD2; Kristen Sherman, PA3; James Sheller, MD3; Jay Montgomery, MD1; Robert L. Abraham, MD1
1Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee; 2Department of Neurology, Division of Sleep Medicine, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee; 3Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is a contributor to atrial fibrillation (AF) and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea can reduce the recurrence of AF following catheter ablation. However, the effect of AF therapies on measures of SDB severity is less robustly described. We present the case of a middle-aged man with SDB and persistent AF who exhibited improvement in SDB metrics, as characterized by data downloaded from his auto-titrating continuous positive airway pressure (AutoCPAP) machine, very shortly following procedures that restored sinus rhythm. Between procedures, when his rhythm reverted to AF, the downloaded parameters suggested more SDB events. After catheter ablation, the patient maintained sinus rhythm and the improvement in SDB metrics was sustained as well. This case provides support in favor of a bidirectional relationship between SDB and AF and suggests that data available from PAP machines may be useful in serial assessment of SDB status relative to heart rhythm.


Monahan K, Upender R, Sherman K, Sheller J, Montgomery J, Abraham RL. Improvement in sleep-disordered breathing indices downloaded from a positive airway pressure machine following conversion of atrial fibrillation to sinus rhythm. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14(11):1953–1957.

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