Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation

It has long been known that sleep apnea has been connected with heart disease. The lack of oxygen due to stopping of breathing can be very damaging. One particular heart disorder that has been found in sleep apnea patients is atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is an arrhythmias, a general term that means an irregular heartbeat. What exactly happens is that the two upper chambers of the heart flutter without pumping blood. This in turn makes the blood form a pool in the heart. A blood clot can then form because of this pool. The blood clot can block an artery in the brain thus causing a stroke or heart attack.

A test was done several years ago where it was discovered that over half of the atrial fibrillation patients also suffered from sleep apnea. And it also seems that the majority of those sleep apnea patients had central sleep apnea as opposed to obstructive sleep apnea.

There are procedures to cure atrial fibrillation such as Electrical cardioversion, where a electric shock is used to fix the irregular heart beat due to the AF. Medication can also be used and with sleep apnea patients who also have AF the cpap has been shown to be helpful.

It is important to remember that sleep apnea isn’t the only reason why people get atrial fibrillation. Heart disease is caused by many different things such as poor diet, lack of exercise and hertitary reasons.

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed.


No comments:

Post a Comment