Irregular heartbeat — also known as atrial fibrillation — may lead to serious health issues like heart attacks, heart failure, chronic kidney disease and sudden cardiac death, finds a study. The researchers studied the associations between atrial fibrillation and cardiovascular disease, renal (kidney) disease and death.
They analysed the results of 104 studies involving over nine million participants (587,867 with atrial fibrillation). Absolute risk increases included 3.8 events per 1,000 participant years for all cause mortality, 1.4 events per 1,000 participant years for ischaemic heart disease, and 6.6 events per 1,000 participant years for chronic kidney disease.
The absolute risk increase for heart failure (11 events per 1,000 participant years) was the highest among the outcomes examined. According to the study, published in the journal The BMJ, atrial fibrillation was associated with a two times risk of cardiovascular mortality, a 2.3 times risk of stroke and a five time risk of incident congestive heart failure.
“Our study could have implications for the prioritisation of public health resources and the development of novel interventions for adults with atrial fibrillation,” said lead author Ayodele Odutayo, doctoral candidate at University of Oxford.
The researchers pointed out that the risk increases associated with many of these events is greater than that of stroke and mentioned that the study adds to the growing literature on the association between atrial fibrillation and cardiovascular outcomes beyond stroke.