Quest for improved screening for obstructive sleep apnea in atrial fibrillation

This study focuses on improving screening for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in atrial fibrillation (AF), due to the under-diagnosed nature of OSA despite strong associations. AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia worldwide and causes serious complications. The aim is to find an innovative method for more effective OSA identification in AF patients.

In the Netherlands, there were 362,700 people with AF in 2019, with annual increases. Effective AF treatment requires identification of risk factors, including OSA. Untreated OSA predicts AF treatment failure.

Current OSA screening methods, such as questionnaires, prove inadequate according to a problem analysis. A literature review and expert interviews show OSAsense, a pulse oximetry method, as a promising innovation. An implementation pilot showed the cost-effectiveness and patient-friendliness of OSAsense, with fewer unnecessary referrals to sleep clinics.

Experts and patients consider OSAsense the best innovation for OSA screening in AF patients. Further implementation is supported, with emphasis on integrated follow-up and coordination by nurse specialists at outpatient AF and sleep disorders clinics. OSAsense offers a safe, cost-effective and patient-friendly approach, with potential for national expansion to other care pathways and AF outpatient clinics.

Click here for the entire article