INTRODUCTION: Palpitations occurring in specific body positions are often reported by patients, but the effect of body position on arrhythmia has received little research attention. We hypothesize that resting body position can exert pro-arrhythmogenic effects in various ways. For example, lateral body position is known to increase change atrial and pulmonary vein dimensions.

METHODS: This observational study capitalizes on overnight polysomnography (PSG) recordings from a tertiary sleep clinic. PSGs were retrieved based on any mention of cardiac arrhythmia in the clinical report, irrespective of primary sleep diagnosis or (cardiac) comorbidities. Every instance of atrial ectopy was annotated and subgroups with a homogenous rate of atrial ectopy were created based on the Dunn index. A generalized linear mixed-effects model using age, sex, gender, sleep stage and body position was used to analyse the total amount of atrial ectopy in each combination of sleep stage and body position. Backward elimination was then performed to select the best subset of variables for the model. Presence of a respiratory event was then added to the model for the subgroup with a high atrial ectopy rate.

RESULTS: PSGs of 22 patients (14% female, mean age 61y) were clustered and analysed. Body position, sleep stage, age or sex did not have a significant effect on atrial ectopy in the subgroup with a low rate of atrial ectopy (N = 18). However, body position did significantly affect the rate of atrial ectopy in the subgroup with a high rate of atrial ectopy (N = 4; 18%). Respiratory events significantly altered the atrial ectopy rate in only three body positions across two patients.

DISCUSSION: In each individual with a high rate of atrial ectopy, the rate of atrial ectopy was significantly higher in either left or right decubital or supine position. Increase in atrial wall stretch in lateral decubital position and obstructive respiratory events in positional sleep apnea are two possible pathophysiological mechanisms, while avoidance of a body position due to symptomatic atrial ectopy in that position is an important limitation.

CONCLUSION: In a selected cohort of patients with a high rate of atrial ectopy during overnight polysomnography, the occurrence of atrial ectopy is related to resting body position.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)21-24
Aantal pagina's4
TijdschriftSleep Medicine
StatusGepubliceerd - mei 2023


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