A serious heart condition known as atrial fibrillation – irregular heart rhythm – has been found to have deadlier consequences in blacks than in whites. Atrial fibrillation affects roughly one percent of Americans and over five percent of those over the age of 65. Atrial fibrillation has been linked to a higher risk of stroke and other heart complications.
The study included over 15,000 blacks and whites who were followed on average for 21 years. During the follow-up period, nearly 2,350 cases of atrial fibrillation emerged, and blacks were found to have double the risk of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, and all-cause mortality, compared to whites had atrial fibrillation.
Lead author Dr. Jared Magnani said, “We knew blacks were likely to have an increased risk of stroke, but the findings for heart failure, [heart disease] and mortality are novel and important. There needs to be further investigation. It’s going to be important to dissect the mechanisms behind why blacks with atrial fibrillation are highly more likely to have adverse outcomes than whites.”
Cardiologists Dr. Thomas Stamos and Dr. Dawood Darbar commented in an accompanying editorial that the study uncovered “… cardiovascular disorders with either an increase in incidence or worse outcome in black individuals compared with white individuals. The reason for these disparities remains unclear. Despite an intense search over the last decade, no consistent genetic cause has been identified. What is known is that there are a number of socioeconomic factors found more commonly among black individuals that strongly correlate with worse cardiovascular outcomes.”
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article: Atrial fibrillation linked to higher cancer risk.