BACKGROUND This systematic review with meta-analysis aimed to determine the strength of evidence for evaluating the association of platelet cellular and functional characteristics including platelet count (PC), MPV, platelet distribution width (PDW), platelet factor 4, beta thromboglobulin (BTG), and p-selectin with the occurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF) and consequent stroke. MATERIAL AND METHODS We conducted a meta-analysis of observational studies evaluating platelet characteristics in patients with paroxysmal, persistent and permanent atrial fibrillations. A comprehensive subgroup analysis was performed to explore potential sources of heterogeneity. RESULTS Literature search of all major databases retrieved 1,676 studies. After screening, a total of 73 studies were identified. Pooled analysis showed significant differences in PC (weighted mean difference (WMD)=-26.93 and p<0.001), MPV (WMD=0.61 and p<0.001), PDW (WMD=-0.22 and p=0.002), BTG (WMD=24.69 and p<0.001), PF4 (WMD=4.59 and p<0.001), and p-selectin (WMD=4.90 and p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS Platelets play a critical and precipitating role in the occurrence of AF. Whereas distribution width of platelets as well as factors of platelet activity was significantly greater in AF patients compared to SR patients, platelet count was significantly lower in AF patients.
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