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Atrial Fibrillation Risk Found to Be Higher Among American Indians

Findings persisted even when accounting for many other demographic and health factors

MONDAY, Oct. 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) — American Indians have a higher risk for incident atrial fibrillation (AF) compared with all other racial and ethnic groups, according to a study published online Oct. 21 in Circulation.

José M. Sanchez, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues used the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project California State Databases to identify Californian adults who received care in an emergency department, inpatient hospital unit, or ambulatory surgery setting from 2005 through 2011. After the index health care encounter, patients were followed for diagnosis of AF.

The researchers identified more than 16.4 million patients with 344,469 incident AF episodes during a median follow-up of 4.1 years. Among American Indians, the incidence of AF was 7.49 per 1,000 person-years versus 6.89 per 1,000 person-years in the rest of the cohort. The risk for AF in American Indians remained significantly higher compared with each racial and ethnic group, even when adjusting for age, sex, income level, insurance payer, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, heart failure, valvular disease, chronic kidney disease, smoking, sleep apnea, pulmonary disease, alcohol use, and number of health care encounters. The relatively higher risk for AF among American Indians was mitigated by the presence of AF risk factors, including diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease.

“The heightened risk of AF in American Indians persisted after multivariable adjustment for known conventional confounders and mediators, suggesting that an unidentified characteristic, including possible genetic or environmental factors, may be responsible,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Jawbone, Medtronic, Eight, and Baylis; another author disclosed ties to InCarda.

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