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Electrocardiographic Advanced Interatrial Block and Atrial Fibrillation Risk in the General Population

      Although advanced interatrial block (aIAB) is an established electrocardiographic phenotype, its prevalence, incidence, and prognostic significance in the general population are unclear. We examined the prevalence, incidence, and prognostic significance of aIAB in 14,625 (mean age = 54 ± 5.8 years; 26% black; 55% female) participants from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. aIAB was detected from digital electrocardiograms recorded during 4 study visits (1987 to 1989, 1990 to 1992, 1993 to 1995, and 1996 to 1998). Risk factors for the development of aIAB were examined using multivariable Poisson regression models with robust variance estimates. Cox regression was used to compute hazard ratios and 95% CIs for the association between aIAB, as a time-dependent variable, and atrial fibrillation (AF). AF was ascertained from study electrocardiogram data, hospital discharge records, and death certificates thorough 2010. A total of 69 participants (0.5%) had aIAB at baseline, and 193 (1.3%) developed aIAB during follow-up. The incidence for aIAB was 2.27 (95% CI 1.97 to 2.61) per 1,000 person-years. Risk factors for aIAB development included age, male gender, white race, antihypertensive medication use, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, body mass index, and systolic blood pressure. In a Cox regression analysis adjusted for sociodemographics, cardiovascular risk factors, and potential confounders, aIAB was associated with an increased risk for AF (hazard ratio 3.09, 95% CI 2.51 to 3.79). In conclusion, aIAB is not uncommon in the general population. Risk factors for developing aIAB are similar to those for AF, and the presence of aIAB is associated with an increased risk for AF.
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      Linked Article

      • Interatrial Block to Guide the Thromboembolic Prevention Strategy: Should It be the Next Step?
        American Journal of CardiologyVol. 120Issue 3
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          We read with great interest the study by O'Neal et al recently published in the American Journal of Cardiology.1 This is the largest epidemiological prospective observational study which explored the arrhythmogenic potential of advanced interatrial block (aIAB). The investigators demonstrated that aIAB was associated with a significantly increased risk for atrial fibrillation (AF) after adjustment for sociodemographics and other cardiovascular risk factors. An additional potential area of exploration in this large patient cohort would be to determine the thromboembolic association of aIAB.
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