Atrial fibrillation associated with increased risk of death and cardiovascular events in women

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have found that among women who are mostly healthy, those diagnosed with atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of death when compared to women without atrial fibrillation. These findings are published in the May 25, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"We knew that atrial fibrillation was associated with an increase risk of death in most cases, but in this study we found that even in a population of women who were mostly healthy and did not have established cardiovascular disease, the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation increased the incidence of death by about 2 fold," said Christine Albert, MD, a cardiac electrophysiologist at BWH and senior author of the paper. "Although the risk of death was elevated, the absolute risk of death among the women with AF in this healthy population was relatively low.

Researchers monitored more than 34,000 women participating in the Women's Health Study for approximately 15 years. The women were primarily white and over the age of 45. During that time period, 1,011 women developed atrial fibrillation. Approximately 2.1 percent of the deaths in the entire population could be attributed to the development of atrial fibrillation. Researchers also found that women with atrial fibrillation experienced a higher risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke and . In fact, much of the elevation in risk of death could be explained by the development of these potentially preventable and treatable medical conditions.

"Some of these deaths may be preventable through available therapies including and . What this means for women with atrial fibrillation is that it is very important to optimally manage risk factors for cardiovascular disease with the help of their physician. However, there is also a portion of this increased risk that persists even when these are taken into account. For this reason, more research is needed to further understand the causes of atrial fibrillation so that we might identify ways to prevent atrial fibrillation and death associated with it." Albert said.

More information: JAMA. 2011;305[20]2080-2087.

Provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital

not rated yet

Related Stories

Osteoporosis drug may be associated with irregular heartbeat

Apr 28, 2008

Alendronate, a medication used to prevent fractures in women with osteoporosis, may be associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, a type of abnormal heart rhythm, according to a report in the April 28 issue ...

Better treatment of atrial fibrillation and its risks

Aug 16, 2010

The earlier that patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation obtain the correct treatment, the lower is the risk of serious secondary effects such as stroke. A thesis presented at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows ...

Recommended for you

Use of drug-eluting stents may cut in-hospital mortality

Nov 20, 2014

(HealthDay)—Use of drug-eluting stents (DES) rather than bare-metal stents (BMS) for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is associated with lower rates of in-hospital mortality, according to research ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.