Asthma Control Linked to Atrial Fibrillation Risk

A new research study, published in JAMA Cardiology, aimed to further confirm a previous correlation between asthma and atrial fibrillation (AF) and to determine if the degree of asthma control affected the risk of developing AF.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a known risk factor for increasing cardiovascular mortality and stroke. Now a new research study aims to further confirm a previous correlation between asthma and AF and also to determine if the degree of asthma control affected the risk of developing AF.

Population data for this study was gathered from 2 health studies, HUNT 2 and HUNT 3, and split into patients with and without asthma. Patients with asthma were further categorized into 3 groups based on a questionnaire:

  • Ever asthma
  • Diagnosed asthma
  • Active asthma (asthma medication usage in the past 12 months)

To determine if the severity of asthma control impacted the risk of AF, patients with asthma were also subcategorized into “well controlled,” “partly controlled,” and “poorly controlled” according to daytime symptoms, limitation of activity, nighttime awakenings, and use of asthma reliever medications. AF assessment was determined through an echocardiogram or written records reviewed by specialists in cardiology and internal medicine.

After a mean follow-up time of 15.4 years, patients categorized in the ever asthma group had an estimated 30% higher risk of developing AF than those without asthma (hazard ratio [HR], 1.30; 95% CI, 1.13-1.48). Patients in the diagnosed asthma and active asthma groups had an estimated 42% (HR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.21-1.67) and 81% (HR, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.51-2.16) increased risk, respectively.

Click to continue reading on The American Journal of Managed Care.