Race may influence risk for irregular heart beat

HealthDay News
THURSDAY, May 5, 2016 -- There's a strong link between the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation and race, a new study says.

Whites with heart failure are much more likely to have atrial fibrillation (AF) than blacks or Hispanics with heart failure, the study authors said.

Heart failure is a common risk factor for atrial fibrillation. Heart failure affects 5.8 million people in the United States and more than 23 million worldwide, the researchers said.


The researchers reviewed information from more than 68,000 Americans with heart failure. They were between ages 45 and 95. The group included more than 28,000 Hispanics, more than 25,000 blacks and more than 14,000 whites.

The risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) was about 23 percent lower in blacks than whites. The odds were nearly 27 percent lower in Hispanics than whites, the researchers found.

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The study was presented Wednesday at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual meeting, in San Francisco.

The results of this study are "especially interesting because, despite having many risk factors for AF, Hispanic and African-American patients had a lower risk of developing AF," study researcher Dr. Eric Shulman said in a society news release.


Shulman, who's with Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said there may be underlying genetic reasons for these differences. He suggested that better awareness and understanding of these disparities may help doctors develop individualized care for their patients.

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Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on atrial fibrillation.

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