Archives of the Turkish Society of Cardiology
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and cardiac arrhythmias [Turk Kardiyol Dern Ars]
Turk Kardiyol Dern Ars. 2008; 36(1): 44-50

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and cardiac arrhythmias

Nihal Akar Bayram1, Erdem Diker2
1Ataturk Education And Research Hospital, Cardiology Department, Ankara, Turkey
2Numune Education And Research Hospital, Cardiology Department, Ankara, Turkey

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) refers to recurring episodes of upper respiratory track obstruction and frequent decreases in arterial oxygen saturation due to repetitive occlusions of the posterior pharynx during sleep. Its prevalence in adult population is 4% in men and 2% in women. The most important causes of morbidity and mortality in affected patients are traffic accidents and cardiovascular complications including systemic arterial hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and cardiac arrhythmias. The initial phases of apnea are associated with a transient increase in the parasympathetic activity resulting in bradyarrhythmias, followed by tachycardias due to increased sympathetic activity and arousal after the end of apnea episodes. The most frequent arrhythmia in OSAS is cyclic variation of heart rate. Most of the arrhythmias seen in OSAS are secondary to OSAS and disappear with OSAS treatment, without any electrophysiological conduction system abnormalities.

Keywords: Arrhythmias, cardiac/etiology, cardiovascular diseases; heart rate; polysomnography; sleep apnea, obstructive/ complications.

How to cite this article
Nihal Akar Bayram, Erdem Diker. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and cardiac arrhythmias. Turk Kardiyol Dern Ars. 2008; 36(1): 44-50

Corresponding Author: Nihal Akar Bayram, Türkiye
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