Familial Aggregation of Lone Atrial Fibrillation in Young Persons

Study Questions:

Do genetic factors predispose to lone atrial fibrillation (AF)?

Methods:

In this population-based study, Danish registry data were used to gather information on approximately 4 million residents born in Denmark in 1950 or later who had ≥1 relative.

Results:

A diagnosis of lone AF was identified before the age of 60 years in 9,507 individuals. Individuals who had ≥1 first-degree relative with lone AF were 3.5 times more likely to develop lone AF than individuals without a family history of lone AF. The odds of developing lone AF were approximately sixfold higher in individuals who had ≥2 first-degree relatives with lone AF.

Conclusions:

The risk of developing lone AF before the age of 60 years is 3.5-fold higher when first-degree relatives have lone AF, and approximately sixfold higher when ≥2 first-degree relatives have lone AF.

Perspective:

The results are consistent with AF being caused by a gene mutation in at least some patients with idiopathic AF. However, another possible explanation for the findings is a behavioral or environmental factor that predisposes to AF and that could have familial clustering, such as obesity, excessive alcohol intake, or intense exercise.

Clinical Topics: Arrhythmias and Clinical EP, Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Prevention, Atrial Fibrillation/Supraventricular Arrhythmias, Exercise

Keywords: Mutation, Exercise, Denmark, Transcription Factors, Risk Factors, Obesity, Atrial Flutter


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