Clinical Edge

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Depressive Symptoms and Risk of Incident AF

J Am Heart Assoc; ePub 2018 Dec 19; Garg, et al

Depressive symptoms are associated with an increased risk of incident atrial fibrillation (AF), a new study found. The analysis included 6,644 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis who were free of AF at baseline. The primary outcome was incident AF, identified by follow-up study visits ECGs, hospital discharge diagnoses, or Medicare claims data. Researchers found:

  • 875 (13%) incident AF cases were detected over a median follow-up of nearly 13 years.
  • A Center of Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale score ≥16 and antidepressant use were associated with a 34% and 36% higher risk of AF, respectively.
  • There were no significant associations observed for anger, anxiety, or chronic stress with development of AF.


Garg PK, O’Neal WT, Diez-Roux AV, Alonso A, Soliman EZ, Heckbert S. Negative affect and risk of atrial fibrillation: MESA. [Published online ahead of print December 19, 2018]. J Am Heart Assoc. doi:10.1161/JAHA.118.010603.