Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
An individual's race or ethnic background could be a determining factor when it comes to risk of atrial fibrillation, the most frequently diagnosed type of irregular heart rhythm, according to researchers at UC San Francisco.
In a study to be published online and in the November 12 issue of Circulation, researchers discovered that self-described non-Hispanic whites are more likely to develop atrial fibrillation than people from other race or ethnic groups.
"We found that consistently, every other race had a statistically significant lower risk of atrial fibrillation compared to whites," said senior author Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, FHRS, an associate professor of medicine who specializes in electrophysiology in the UCSF Division of Cardiology. "So this suggests that white race is itself a risk factor for atrial fibrillation."
The researchers studied the records of 14 million California patients who visited the emergency room, had outpatient services, or were hospitalized between 2005 and 2009. The patient sample included Caucasians, African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans. Previous research that established African Americans at lower risk for atrial fibrillation than whites, despite having more risk factors for atrial fibrillation, studied only Caucasians and African Americans. This raised the question as to whether African Americans were protected or whites were at increased risk, forming the foundation for the current study.
"We were surprised to find that Asian Americans and Hispanics have similar relative decreases in atrial fibrillation risk as African Americans, suggesting there is some characteristic unique to whites that increases the likelihood of this abnormal heart rhythm," said first author Thomas A. Dewland, MD, a cardiac electrophysiology fellow in the UCSF Division of Cardiology.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. People over 40 years of age have a 26 percent lifetime risk of developing this abnormality, according to the Framingham Heart Study.
"Presumably there may be a gene, or a set of genes, in European ancestry or some important behavior or environmental exposure in whites that increases the risk for atrial fibrillation," Marcus said. "Based on several analyses performed in the study, the risk is not related to existing cardiac conditions like high blood pressure or existing heart disease."
In comparison to Caucasians, African Americans had 16 percent lower risk, Hispanics had 22 percent lower risk, and Asian Americans also had 22 percent lower risk for atrial fibrillation.
"Despite the frequency with which we see this disorder in our clinical practice, our understanding of why certain patients are affected remains incomplete," Dewland said. "Continued research into how atrial fibrillation develops will allow us to better predict, treat, and ultimately prevent this rhythm abnormality."
Co-authors are Eric Vittinghoff, PhD, MPH, from the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Jeffrey E. Olgin, MD, from the UCSF Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Electrophysiology Section. CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002449 Published online before print October 8, 2013, doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002449
This study was supported by grant numbers 12POST11810036 and 12GRNT11780061 from the American Heart Association and by the Joseph Drown Foundation. The funding sources played no role in the study design, data collection, data management, data analysis, data interpretation, manuscript preparation, manuscript review, or manuscript approval.
The authors have reported that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the contents of this paper to disclose.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Cardiovascular / Cardiology category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
University of California - San Francisco. "In study of 14 million patients, whites found to be more prone to atrial fibrillation than other ethnic groups." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 11 Oct. 2013. Web.
12 Mar. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/267260>
University of California - San Francisco. (2013, October 11). "In study of 14 million patients, whites found to be more prone to atrial fibrillation than other ethnic groups." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/267260.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2014 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.