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Irregular Heartbeat Patients 'Five Times More Likely To Experience Heart Failure'

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Irregular Heartbeat Patients 'Five Times More Likely To Experience Heart Failure'

They analysed the results of 104 studies involving over nine million participants (587,867 with atrial fibrillation).

In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart flutter or beat irregularly. But the association between atrial fibrillation and cardiovascular events other than stroke is less clear.

Atrial fibrillation affects roughly one million people in the UK. In particular it showed that the risk of heart failure was particularly high compared to people who did not have the condition.

So a team of researchers based at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. set out to quantify the associations between atrial fibrillation and cardiovascular disease, renal (kidney) disease, and death.

Up to 90 percent of people with atrial fibrillation also have high blood pressure, he added.

Lucy Wilkinson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said of the study: "Atrial fibrillation, or AF, is a common condition but we do not yet fully understand it".

Absolute risk increases (based on the USA population) 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.

Atrial fibrillation is associated with a wider range of conditions than previously believed, according to a review and meta-analysis published online September 6 in The BMJ.

Now people with irregular heartbeat are prescribed anti-coagulant drugs, but they do little to prevent other heart conditions.

"Our study found that alcohol is an independent risk factor for stroke in patients with [atrial fibrillation]", Al-Khalili said. People with atrial fibrillation were 1.6 times as likely to suffer from kidney disease and 1.9 times more likely to suffer from sudden cardiac arrest than those who do not suffer from atrial fibrillation.

"Reducing the burden of non-stroke events in adults with atrial fibrillation would benefit from a focus on primary prevention and the management of cardiovascular risk factors", Odutayo said. "They should consider the risk for other cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, kidney disease and coronary heart disease as well".

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