New 10-Year Risk Score for Atrial Fibrillation Developed

Researchers find their AF score compares favorably with various CHD risk scores

FRIDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- A 10-year risk score for new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) in both blacks and whites has been developed; the research has been published in the January issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Alanna M. Chamberlain, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues developed the AF risk score using 14,546 subjects at risk for AF who were enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities (ARIC) study, a prospective community-based cohort of blacks and whites in the United States.

In 10 years of follow-up, the researchers found that 515 incident AF events occurred. The variables included in the AF risk score were age, height, race, smoking status, hypertension medication use, systolic blood pressure, precordial murmur, left ventricular hypertrophy, left atrial enlargement, diabetes, coronary heart disease (CHD), and heart failure. The researchers determined that their risk score compared favorably with the Framingham Heart Study's AF, CHD, and hard CHD risk scores as well as with the ARIC CHD risk score.

"The Framingham 10-year risk score for CHD is widely used clinically and has been shown to predict CHD well in other cohorts. However, we have shown that CHD risk scores are not effective at predicting AF risk," the authors write. "This highlights the importance of a separate risk score to predict AF, and potentially, the need to develop different preventive interventions."

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