Academic cardiac electrophysiologists' perspectives on sleep apnea care.

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Sleep & breathing = Schlaf & Atmung


PURPOSE: Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is an important, modifiable risk factor in the pathophysiology of arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation (AF). The purpose of the study was to evaluate cardiac electrophysiologists' (EPs) perception of OSAS.

METHODS: We designed a 27-item online Likert scale-based survey instrument entailing several domains: (1) relevance of OSAS in EP practice, (2) OSAS screening and diagnosis, (3) perception on treatments for OSAS, (4) opinion on the OSAS care model. The survey was distributed to 89 academic EP programs in the USA and Canada. While the survey instrument questions refer to the term sleep apnea (SA), our discussion of the diagnosis, management, and research on the sleep disorder is more accurately described with the term OSAS.

RESULTS: A total of 105 cardiac electrophysiologists from 49 institutions responded over a 9-month period. The majority of respondents agreed that sleep apnea (SA) is a major concern in their practice (94%). However, 42% reported insufficient education on SA during training. Many (58%) agreed that they would be comfortable managing SA themselves with proper training and education and 66% agreed cardiac electrophysiologists should become more involved in management. Half of EPs (53%) were not satisfied with the sleep specialist referral process. Additionally, a majority (86%) agreed that trained advanced practice providers should be able to assess and manage SA. Time constraints, lack of knowledge, and the referral process are identified as major barriers to EPs becoming more involved in SA care.

CONCLUSIONS: We found that OSAS is widely recognized as a major concern for EP. However, incorporation of OSAS care in training and routine practice lags. Barriers to increased involvement include time constraints and education. This study can serve as an impetus for innovation in the cardiology OSAS care model.


Online ahead of print.





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