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HRS: Cardiac Arrhythmia Tied to Autoimmune Diseases

Atrial fibrillation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus

FRIDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Atrial fibrillation (AF) appears to be associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), according to research presented at the Heart Rhythm Society's Annual Scientific Sessions, held from May 4 to 7 in San Francisco.

Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample Database 2008, Prabhat Hebbar, M.D., of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, and colleagues identified 416,786 patients greater than 65 years of age discharged with a diagnosis of AF. The investigators employed propensity score matching to assess the association of AF with RA/SLE using an age-matched control group.

The researchers found that the frequency of AF in patients with RA/SLE was 2.73 percent, while, among controls, it was 1.70 percent. After adjusting for age, sex, demographics, and other comorbidities, the investigators found that the odds of developing AF in RA/SLE patients was 1.6 times higher than in controls. Subgroup analysis showed that AF was significantly associated with RA (odds ratio, 1.60) and SLE (odds ratio, 1.72).

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to show association of AF with RA and SLE. This observation suggests there could be a role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of AF," the authors write.

Abstract No. PO4-67
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