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ECG risk markers for atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac death in minimally symptomatic obstructive sleep apnoea: the MOSAIC randomised trial
  1. Christian Schlatzer1,
  2. Daniel J Bratton1,
  3. Sonja E Craig2,
  4. Malcolm Kohler1,3,
  5. John R Stradling2
  1. 1Sleep Disorders Centre and Pulmonary Division, University Hospital Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
  2. 2Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine and NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK
  3. 3Zürich Centre for Integrative Human Physiology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christian Schlatzer; christianschlatzer{at}


Objective Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), atrial fibrillation (AF) and sudden cardiac death (SCD) may occur concomitantly, and are of considerable epidemiological interest, potentially leading to morbidity and mortality. Effective treatment of OSA with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) could prevent progression and/or recurrence of AF and factors leading to SCD. Recently, a randomised controlled trial showed a statistically and clinically significant prolongation of measures of cardiac repolarisation after CPAP withdrawal in symptomatic patients with moderate to severe OSA. Whether or not CPAP therapy improves ECG risk markers of AF and SCD in patients with minimally symptomatic OSA as well, is unknown.

Methods 3 centres taking part in the MOSAIC (Multicentre Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Interventional Cardiovascular) trial randomisd 303 patients with minimally symptomatic OSA to receive either CPAP or standard care for 6 months. Treatment effects of CPAP on P-wave duration, P-wave dispersion, QT interval, QT dispersion, Tpeak-to-Tend (TpTe) and TpTe/QT ratio were analysed.

Results Participants were primarily men (83%). Mean age was 57.8 (7.2) and mean ODI (Oxygen Desaturation Index) at baseline was 13.1/h (12.3). Full 12-lead ECG data was available in 250 patients. Mean (SD) baseline intervals of P-wave duration, P-wave dispersion, QTc interval, QT dispersion, TpTe and TpTe/QT ratio in ms were 87.4 (8.3), 42.3 (11.9), 397.8 (22.7), 43.1 (16.7), 73.5 (13.7) and 0.19 (0.0), respectively. No treatment effect of CPAP on risk markers for AF and SCD was found.

Conclusions There seems to be no effect of CPAP on ECG measures of arrhythmia risk in patients with minimally symptomatic OSA.

Trial registration number ISRCTN34164388; Post-results.

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Sudden cardiac death
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Continuous positive airway pressure
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Risk marker

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