Background: Once atrial fibrillation (AF) progresses to sustained forms, adverse outcomes increase and treatment success rates decrease. Therefore, identification of risk factors predisposing to persistence of AF may have a significant impact on AF morbidity. Methods and Results: We prospectively examined the differential associations between traditional, lifestyle, and biomarker AF risk factors and development of paroxysmal versus nonparoxysmal AF (persistent/permanent) among 34 720 women enrolled in the Women's Health Study who were free of cardiovascular disease and AF at baseline. AF patterns were defined based on current guidelines and classified according to the most sustained form of AF within 2 years of diagnosis. During a median follow-up of 16.4 years, 690 women developed paroxysmal AF and 349 women developed nonparoxysmal AF. In multivariable time-varying competing risk models, increasing age (hazard ratio [HR] 1.11, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.13, versus HR 1.08, 1.07 to 1.09, per year), body mass index (HR 1.07, 1.05 to 1.09, versus HR 1.03, 1.02 to 1.05, per kg/m2), and weight (HR 1.30, 1.22 to 1.39, versus HR 1.14, 1.08 to 1.20, per 10 kg) were more strongly associated with the development of nonparoxysmal AF compared with paroxysmal AF. Hemoglobin A1c levels at baseline were directly related to the development of nonparoxysmal AF but inversely associated with paroxysmal AF in multivariable competing risk models (P for nonequal association=0.01). Conclusions: In women without AF or CVD at baseline, increasing age, adiposity, and higher hemoglobin A1c levels were preferentially associated with the early development of nonparoxysmal AF. These data raise the hypothesis that efforts aimed at weight reduction or glycemic control may affect the proportion of the population with sustained AF.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Risk factors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine