Reducing Outcomes Beyond Stroke May Be Warranted in A-Fib Patients

Review links atrial fibrillation to increased risk for cardiovascular events, kidney disease, not just stroke
Review links atrial fibrillation to increased risk for cardiovascular events, kidney disease, not just stroke

HealthDay News — Atrial fibrillation is associated with a wider range of conditions than previously believed, according to a review and meta-analysis published online September 6 in The BMJ.

Ayodele Odutayo, of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues reviewed 104 studies involving more than 9 million people, including 587,867 patients with atrial fibrillation.

The researchers found that the disorder was also associated with cardiovascular disease, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, sudden cardiac death, and death from all causes. Risk for heart failure was the most significant of these associations, rising five-fold for patients with atrial fibrillation. But atrial fibrillation was also linked with a two-fold increased risk of cardiovascular-related death and a 2.3-fold increased risk of stroke. Besides stroke, atrial fibrillation was already tied to an increased risk of death, higher medical costs, and lower quality of life.

Doctors need to take steps to reduce the risk of these newly identified health risks, along with stroke, in patients with atrial fibrillation, according to the researchers. The findings add "to the growing literature on the association between atrial fibrillation and cardiovascular outcomes beyond stroke," they write.

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