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Am J Cardiol. 2001 Jan 15;87(2):168-71.

Hemostatic state and atrial fibrillation (the Framingham Offspring Study).

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Institute for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is strongly associated with thromboembolic complications, although the mechanism for the increased risk has not been fully explained. To determine whether AF might be associated with a hypercoagulable state, we studied hemostatic factors in subjects with or without AF in the Framingham Heart Study. In 3,577 subjects, we measured fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor antigen, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) antigen, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 antigen. Forty-seven subjects had AF at the index clinic examination and 15 had AF on a prior examination, but not on the current examination. Before matching, the 47 subjects with prevalent AF had higher levels of fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor, and tPA antigen than those without AF, all p < or =0.03. Compared with 167 referent subjects matched for age, sex, and other risk factors, those with AF had higher tPA antigen levels than those without AF, 1 1.8 +/- 4.0 ng/ml versus 10.5 +/- 3.9 ng/ml (p = 0.04). However, when further stratified according to their cardiovascular disease status, the differences in hemostatic factors were no longer significant. We conclude that the prothrombotic profile associated with AF was explained by the risk factors of the subjects and the presence of cardiovascular disease. Nonetheless, the hemostatic changes may contribute toward the propensity for thromboembolic complications in AF. Further prospective studies are needed to evaluate whether measurement of these and other hemostatic factors will identify patients with AF who are at increased risk for thromboembolic complications, and who may therefore benefit from more intensive therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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