Using phenome-wide association studies (PheWAS) to compare males vs females with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), researchers recently uncovered a novel association of increased atrial fibrillation (AF) in males with SLE. Furthermore, SLE disease status was independently associated with AF even after adjusting for age, sex, race, and coronary artery disease (CAD). Researchers used a de-identified version of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center electronic health records with >2.8 million subjects. They performed PheWAS comparing 1) SLE cases vs age, sex, and race-matched controls, and 2) male vs female SLE cases and controlled for multiple testing. 1,097 SLE subjects and 5,735 matched controls were identified. They found:
- Comparing SLE cases to matched controls, SLE cases were more likely to have codes for SLE disease criteria.
- In the male vs female SLE case-only PheWAS adjusting for age and race, males were more likely to have AF.
- Chart reviews confirmed AF with the majority of subjects developing AF after SLE diagnosis and having multiple risk factors for AF.
- Adjusting for age, sex, race, and CAD, SLE disease was significantly associated with AF.
Barnado A, Carroll RJ, Casey C, Wheless L, Denny JC, Crofford LJ. Phenome-wide association studies uncover a novel association of increased atrial fibrillation in males with systemic lupus erythematosus. [Published online ahead of print February 26, 2018]. Arthritis Care Res. doi:10.1002/acr.23553.
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