HealthDay News — Women with breast cancer have an increased long-term incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study published online January 28 in Heart Rhythm.

Maria D’Souza, MD, from Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev-Gentofte in Denmark, and colleagues estimated the long-term incidence of AF in patients with breast cancer identified from 1998 to 2015 using nationwide registries. A total of 74,155 female patients with breast cancer were matched with 222,465 patients from the background population by age and sex.

The researchers observed a correlation for breast cancer with incident AF; the correlation varied between age groups and follow-up time periods. Breast cancer was associated with an increased incidence of AF during the first 6 months and from 6 months to 3 years for patients younger than 60 years (hazard ratios, 2.1 [95% confidence interval, 1.25 to 3.44] and 1.8 [95% confidence interval, 1.38 to 2.35], respectively). Breast cancer was not associated with an increased incidence of AF during the first 6 months but was associated with an increased incidence from 6 months to 3 years for patients older than 60 years (hazard ratios, 1.13 [95% confidence interval, 0.95 to 1.34] and 1.14 [95% confidence interval, 1.05 to 1.25], respectively). 

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“Our findings should encourage doctors to focus on the risk of AF in patients with recent breast cancer in order to diagnose and treat as early as possible,” D’Souza said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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