Poor Management of Asthma Linked to Atrial Fibrillation Risk

A study recently published in JAMA Cardiology showed that risk of atrial fibrillation may be higher in patients with asthma, and most profound in those with uncontrolled asthma. With the prevalence of poor asthma management in the general population, these findings are of great medical importance.

In their prospective cohort analysis, researchers evaluated data on adults from a survey-based Norwegian study titled Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT). At baseline evaluation, all participants did not have atrial fibrillation. Data for atrial fibrillation was obtained by linking the HUNT data to records from 2 hospitals in Nord-Trøndelag County. Researchers compared data from May to November 2017, and broke self-reported asthma into those who have ever had asthma, those who were ever diagnosed, and those with active asthma. Using the Global Initiative for Asthma guidelines, researchers categorized asthma control as being either controlled, partly controlled, or uncontrolled.

Of the 54,567 adults included in the study, 5,961 (10.9%) of the patients reported having asthma, 3,934 (7.2%) report being diagnosed, and only 2,485 (4.6%) reported having active asthma. 2,071 (3.8%) of the patients were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation at a mean follow-up of 15.4 years. The patients who had previously been diagnosed with asthma were found to have a 38% higher risk of being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation than their healthy counterparts. The researchers also found that those with uncontrolled asthma had the highest risk of atrial fibrillation, with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.74.

Source: JAMA