JAMA Logo Atrial fibrillation (AF) appears as the most common cardiac arrhythmia, and its prevalence is markedly increasing over time. A fresh study now suggests that healthy middle-aged women with new-onset atrial fibrillation are more likely to face an increased risk of cardiovascular, non-cardiovascular and all-cause death. The study findings supposedly have major implications in the health-space.

While conducting the study, investigators evaluated data from the Women’s Health Study to highlight the risk of death and cardiovascular events among initially healthy middle-aged women with new-onset AF. From the time period of 1993 and March 2010, a total of 34,722 women were subjected to a prospective follow-up. These subjects were previously enrolled in the Women’s Health Study. While 95 percent of them were white, the median age was 53 years. In the beginning of the study, none of the AF participants were diagnosed with any cardiovascular disease.

Scientists share, “In this large cohort of initially healthy women at low risk of cardiovascular disease, women with new-onset AF had an increased risk of death and incident cardiovascular events. Because a significant proportion of the excess mortality risk appears attributable to the occurrence of nonfatal cardiovascular events prior to death, there is a potential opportunity to improve the outcome of individuals with new-onset AF through both prevention and optimal management of these associated co-morbidities.”

In a median follow-up of 15.4 years, 1,011 women allegedly developed AF. David Conen, M.D., M.P.H., of University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues also registered 1,602 deaths from all causes, including 63 deaths among women in the new onset AF group. The age-adjusted relative risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and non-cardiovascular mortality appeared dramatically higher among women with new-onset AF. Even after adjusting for nonfatal cardiovascular events, new-onset AF probably remained strongly connected with all mortality components.

The study is published in the May 25 issue of JAMA.