Clinical Edge

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Lifetime Risk of Atrial Fibrillation Assessed

BMJ; ePub 2018 Apr 26; Staerk, Wang, et al

The overall lifetime risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) was 37.0% among individuals aged ≥55 years, with greater risk in those with at least 1 elevated risk factor, a recent study found. Using longitudinal data from the Framingham Heart Study, researchers examined the association between risk factor burdens—categorized as optimal, borderline, or elevated—and the lifetime risk of AF. The community-based cohort study included 5,338 participants free of AF at index ages 55, 65, and 75 years. Main outcome was lifetime risk of AF at index age up to 95 years. Among the findings:

  • The overall lifetime risk of AF was 37.0% among those aged ≥55 years.
  • Lifetime risk of AF was higher among men than women.
  • Individuals with an optimal risk factor profile at age 55 years had a lifetime risk of AF of ~1 in 5, whereas those with elevated risk factors had a lifetime risk of at least 1 in 3.
  • The lifetime risk of AF was 23.4% with an optimal risk profile, 33.4% with a borderline risk profile, and 38.4% with an elevated risk profile.


Staerk L, Wang B, Preis SR, et al. Lifetime risk of atrial fibrillation according to optimal, borderline, or elevated levels of risk factors: Cohort study based on longitudinal data from the Framingham Heart Study. [Published online ahead of print April 26, 2018]. BMJ. doi:10.1136/bmj.k1453.