Sleep disruption linked to atrial fibrillation risk

Research suggests that patients with frequent night-time awakening or insomnia have an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation monitor

Sleep disruption is an important risk factor for developing atrial fibrillation (AF), study results have shown[1]

Researchers considered data from two cohort studies (n=5,703 and 4,553, respectively) and from a Californian patient database (n=14,330,651).

In the first study, patients with frequent night-time awakening had a 33% increased risk of developing AF during the 11.6 years median follow-up. Meanwhile, Californian patients with an insomnia diagnosis had a 36% increased risk of AF diagnosis during 3.9 years median follow-up. In the second cohort study, current AF was also associated with more frequent night-time awakening.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is an established risk factor for AF and also a cause of poor sleep quality, the researchers explained.

Given the high prevalence of sleep disruption in the general population, the researchers suggested that, in future, interventions targeting poor sleep quality could have an impact on preventing AF.

“Our findings suggest that sleep quality is as important as previously described risk factors,” they concluded.


[1] Christensen M, Dixit S, Dewland T et al. Sleep characteristics that predict atrial fibrillation. Heart Rhythm 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2018.05.008

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, September 2018, Vol 10, No 9;10(9):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205248

You may also be interested in