New research has focused on determining whether obstructive sleep apnea was more prevalent in atrial fibrillation patients than in the general population, reports Bel Marra Health.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when breathing stops and starts during sleep. The condition has the potential to become highly dangerous, as the lack of oxygen can eventually cause serious cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications.

In this line of thinking, it has been proposed that obstructive sleep apnea may play a role in causing and worsening cardiovascular conditions, including atrial fibrillation or an irregular heartbeat. While this may be the case, obstructive sleep apnea is not a common diagnosis alongside atrial fibrillation, leading some academics to believe that the condition is going unidentified and, therefore, untreated.