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Heart Rhythm. 2007 Mar;4(3 Suppl):S1-6. Epub 2006 Dec 15.

Epidemiology of atrial fibrillation: a current perspective.

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  • 1Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.

Abstract

The prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) increases with age. Recent population-based data indicate a trend of increasing incidence and prevalence of AF that is incompletely explained by an aging population. A recent population study estimated that the number of Americans afflicted by AF will increase from the current 2.3 million to more than 10 million by 2050. Novel risk factors--obesity and sleep apnea--may partially account for the current AF epidemic. Ethnic differences in the epidemiology of AF have been suggested but not clearly elucidated by population-based studies. The heritability of AF in the general population is strongly supported by population-based data. Genetic epidemiological studies on AF can potentially yield important mechanistic insights that may ultimately lead to novel preventative and therapeutic strategies.

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