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J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2017 Aug;4(4):718-724. doi: 10.1007/s40615-016-0275-3. Epub 2016 Aug 16.

Differential Impact of Risk Factors in Blacks and Whites in the Development of Atrial Fibrillation: the Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, 101 Woodruff Circle, Woodruff Memorial Building, Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA. wesley.oneal@emory.edu.
2
Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.
3
Department of Neurology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL, USA.
4
Section of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.
5
Department of Neurology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
6
Department of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA.
7
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.
8
Department of Medicine, Section on Cardiology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.
9
Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE), Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Despite a higher prevalence of risk factors, atrial fibrillation (AF) is less prevalent in blacks than whites. To address this paradox, we examined racial differences in the magnitude of AF risk associated with common risk factors.

METHODS:

Participants (13,688; mean age = 63 ± 8.4 years; 56 % female; 37 % black) from the Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke study who were free of baseline AF were included. Incident AF was identified at a follow-up examination by electrocardiogram and self-reported medical history. Poisson regression was used to compute relative risk (RR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) for the association between risk factors and incident AF in blacks and whites, separately. Age- and sex-adjusted population attributable fractions (PAFs) of modifiable AF risk factors were computed.

RESULTS:

After median follow-up of 9.4 years, 997 (7.3 %) incident AF cases were detected. Black race was associated with a lower risk of AF (RR = 0.46, 95 % CI = 0.39, 0.53). Significant risk factors for AF were age, male sex, hypertension, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. A differential association was detected for smoking by race, with the association being stronger in blacks (RR = 1.41, 95 % CI = 1.07, 1.85) compared with whites (RR = 1.01, 95 % CI = 0.88, 1.16; P interaction = 0.030). The PAFs for hypertension (blacks = 27.4 %, whites = 19.4 %), obesity (blacks = 16.9 %, whites = 11.8 %), and smoking (blacks = 17.9 %, whites = 2.5 %) were higher for blacks than whites.

CONCLUSION:

Modifiable risk factors are important in AF development among blacks despite a lower risk of the arrhythmia. Racial differences in the magnitude of the association of individual AF risk factors do not explain the AF paradox.

KEYWORDS:

Atrial fibrillation; Epidemiology; Race; Risk factors

PMID:
27531069
PMCID:
PMC5313388
DOI:
10.1007/s40615-016-0275-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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