Background: Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) may hamper the outcome of catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF). However, SDB is underdiagnosed in clinical practice and the relevancy of undiagnosed SDB on the outcome of catheter ablation is unclear. Objective: To evaluate if undiagnosed SDB has an impact on AF recurrence after catheter ablation. Methods: In this single-center cohort study we enrolled patients who had a catheter ablation of AF 12 to 18 months prior to enrolment. Patients with diagnosed SDB at the time of catheter ablation were excluded. Enrolled patients underwent screening using WatchPAT (WP). SDB was defined as an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) ≥ 15. Results: A total of 164 patients were screened for eligibility. After exclusion of patients with previously diagnosed SDB (n = 30), 104 of 134 eligible patients were enrolled and underwent SDB screening. The median AHI was 11.5 (interquartile range 6.8–21.9) and 39 patients (38%) had SDB which was undiagnosed during the first year after ablation. AF recurrence in the first year after catheter ablation occurred in 40 patients (38%). The risk of AF recurrence was higher in the group with undiagnosed SDB in comparison to those without SDB (51% versus 31%, P = 0.04). Interestingly, the prevalence of AF recurrence was similar between patients with previously diagnosed and undiagnosed SDB (51% versus 50%, P = 0.92). Conclusion: A significant proportion of patients undergoing catheter ablation of AF have undiagnosed SDB which is associated with a twofold higher risk of AF recurrence. SDB screening may improve patient counselling regarding the efficacy of catheter ablation.
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