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Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep. 2013 Oct;7(5). doi: 10.1007/s12170-013-0327-8.

Atrial Fibrillation and Race - A Contemporary Review.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark, NJ.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most commonly encountered clinical arrhythmia and is associated with adverse outcomes and increased healthcare costs. Racial variations in AF are recognized yet poorly understood. In this review we summarize racial differences in AF epidemiology, risk factors, genetics, and outcomes. We identify novel risk factors, inflammatory mediators and biomarkers associated with AF, which have had limited study in racial and ethnic minorities. We describe the mismatch between risk factor burden and AF. We highlight the limited participation of minorities in trials for AF management and stroke prevention that contrasts with observed racial variability in anticoagulation efficacy and practice. Throughout we provide specific strategies for future directions to address gaps in the epidemiology of racial differences and to meet identified racial disparities. We specifically identify areas for further research. We conclude that addressing disparities in prevention and healthcare resource allocation will likely improve AF-related outcomes in minorities.


African-American; Atrial fibrillation; Epidemiology; Ethnicity; Race

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