“Risk factors with the largest population attributable fractions of death within 90 days were heart failure (15.0%), malignancy (12.2%), and hypertension (11.4%). For example, assuming a causal relationship, if heart failure were eliminated, 15% of the deaths within 90 days would have been avoided,” according to the joint Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center case-study.
No up-to-date information about associated mortality risks for AF patients had yet to be conducted before this report, which aimed to set a baseline for the occurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in a 10-year period for a specific population.
The study focused on 3,344 Olmsted County, Minnesota, residents diagnosed with AF or atrial flutter from the years 2000 to 2010. Looking for both the prevalence of AF and survival rates among participants, researchers compared Olmsted residents’ data with correlating U.S. general population demographics.
The analysis found that the incidence of AF in Olmsted remained stable, which was consistent with similar studies conducted by the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC) and Medicare beneficiaries during similar periods.
“A dramatic excess risk of death was observed within the first 90 days after atrial fibrillation diagnosis,” while survival during this time did not improve from 2000 to 2010, researchers concluded. Additionally, AF was shown to be riskier for patients with certain preexisting conditions.
“Current smoking status, prior myocardial infarction, heart failure, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease, liver disease, dementia, hemiplegia/ paraplegia, and cancers.” By tracking both instances of occurrence and survival rates of AF patients, researchers hoped to “provide contemporary insights into the atrial fibrillation epidemic.”
Atrial fibrillation—a quivering, or irregular heartbeat— was originally deemed a rising epidemic in the late 1990’s as the graying of America started to take effect. The risk of developing AF increases dramatically with age and will have serious public health ramifications, as the U.S. is expected to have 6-12 million cases by 2050, according to The Lancet independent medical journal.