Study compares WatchPAT to in-lab diagnosis of sleep apnoea in AF patients

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Itamar Medical WatchPAT in use

Itamar Medical has announced the publication of a study in the December 2020 edition of Nature and Science of Sleep validating the use of its WatchPAT device against the gold standard in-lab polysomnogram (PSG) in the diagnosis of sleep apnoea in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).

The study, which included centres in the USA, Canada, Germany and Israel, recruited 101 patients who were previously diagnosed with AF (permanent, persistent or paroxysmal) and suspected to have sleep apnea. The study concluded that WatchPAT, based on PATTM technology (which measures and records the peripheral arterial tone) can diagnose sleep apnoea events in patients with AF with and without nocturnal active AF episodes with accuracy similar to what was previously reported for general population, and with significant correlation to PSG testing outcomes.

“Since arrhythmias in general and AF in particular are quite common in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), understanding the accuracy of WatchPAT in detecting sleep apnoea in these patients is of substantial importance,” said Giora Pillar, head sleep clinic in the Haifa district of Clalit Medical Services, Haifa, Israel. “The accepted gold standard for sleep apnoea diagnosis is PSG; however, access to PSG is limited. The availability of Home Sleep Apnea Testing (HSAT) has provided a safe and convenient alternative, especially during the recent COVID-19 epidemic when many sleep labs were closed.”

“The rising burden of AF has elevated the need for strategies aiming to lower its risk of development and progression. Sleep apnoea has been recognised as one of the important modifiable risk factors for AF with evidence (level IIb) suggesting that effective management of sleep apnoea improves AF. Because many AF patients do not present with typical SA symptoms, traditional screening questions and so called “eye-balling” was proven to have low sensitivity to sleep apnoea in this population,” said Jennifer Cook, Itamar Medical’s global medical director. “Encouragingly, many international professional societies, including ESC and AHA recommend screening and management of patients with AF for sleep apnoea. The addition of the WatchPAT, based on PAT technology as an alternative sleep testing at home has the potential to meaningfully increase diagnoses and to improve the management of these patients.”

WatchPAT is an alternative to PSG for confirmation of clinically suspected sleep apnoea that is based on peripheral arterial tone signal’s amplitude and rate, oxygen saturation and actigraphy.


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