Obstructive sleep apnea might lead to irregular heartbeat

Patients with obstructive sleep apnea may be at greater risk of developing atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, new research finds.

Lead author Dr. Tetyana Kendzerska, Ph.D., of the University of Ottawa in Canada, and colleagues came to their findings by analyzing the medical records of more than 8,000 adults.

The results were recently presented at the American Thoracic Society Conference 2017, held in Washington, D.C.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, due to a partial or complete blockage of the upper airway.

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, more than 22 million people in the United States are affected by sleep apnea, with OSA being the most common form.

Patients with OSA are more likely to have high blood pressure, or hypertension, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.

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