Something Else to Blame on Your Family

Atrial fibrillation risk tied to genetic variants

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A diagnosis of atrial fibrillation in first-degree relatives is tied to higher atrial fibrillation risk.

According a new study from the Cardiovascular Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, after adjusting for established atrial fibrillation risk factors and atrial fibrillation-related genetic variants, it is now evident genetic variants are linked to atrial fibrillation risk, though the contribution of familial atrial fibrillation to new-onset atrial fibrillation remains unknown.

For the study, about 4,420 participants (average age, 54 years; 54 percent women) were followed. Participants were at least 30 years old, free of atrial fibrillation and had at least one parent or sibling enrolled in the study. From 1968 to 2007, familial atrial fibrillation occurred in 1,185 patients (26.8 percent). Among those with familial atrial fibrillation, relatives affected with the condition ranged from 1 to 5. Some 351 patients (7.9 percent) presented premature familial AF (onset at 65 years old or younger).

The researchers concluded future studies should look at factors that mediate the link between familial atrial fibrillation and atrial fibrillation risk.

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Review Date: 
January 6, 2011
Last Updated:
January 6, 2011