Prevalence, incidence, prognosis, and predisposing conditions for atrial fibrillation: population-based estimates

The American Journal of Cardiology
W B KannelD Levy

Abstract

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common of the serious cardiac rhythm disturbances and is responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality in the general population. Its prevalence doubles with each advancing decade of age, from 0.5% at age 50-59 years to almost 9% at age 80-89 years. It is also becoming more prevalent, increasing in men aged 65-84 years from 3.2% in 1968-1970 to 9.1% in 1987-1989. This statistically significant increase in men was not explained by an increase in age, valve disease, or myocardial infarctions in the cohort. The incidence of new onset of AF also doubled with each decade of age, independent of the increasing prevalence of known predisposing conditions. Based on 38-year follow-up data from the Framingham Study, men had a 1.5-fold greater risk of developing AF than women after adjustment for age and predisposing conditions. Of the cardiovascular risk factors, only hypertension and diabetes were significant independent predictors of AF, adjusting for age and other predisposing conditions. Cigarette smoking was a significant risk factor in women adjusting only for age (OR = 1.4), but was just short of significance on adjustment for other risk factors. Neither obesity nor alcohol intake was asso...Continue Reading

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