Atrial fibrillation without comorbidities: Prevalence, incidence and prognosis (from the Framingham Heart Study)

Eun Jeong Kim, Xiaoyan Yin, João D. Fontes, Jared W. Magnani, Steve A. Lubitz, David D. McManus, Sudha Seshadri, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Patrick T. Ellinor, Martin G. Larson, Emelia J. Benjamin, Michiel Rienstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background The epidemiology of atrial fibrillation (AF) without comorbidities, known as 'lone AF', is uncertain. Although it has been considered a benign condition, we hypothesized that it confers a worse prognosis compared with a matched sample without AF. Methods We described the proportion of AF without comorbidities (clinical, subclinical cardiovascular disease and triggers) among the entire AF sample in Framingham Heart Study (FHS). We compared AF without comorbidities with typical AF, and age-, sex- and cohort-matched individuals without AF, using Cox proportional hazards analysis in relation to combined cardiovascular events (stroke, heart failure, myocardial infarction), and mortality. Results Of 10,311 FHS participants, 1,961 were diagnosed with incident AF, among which 173 individuals had AF without comorbidities (47% women, mean age 71±12 years). AF without comorbidities had a prevalence of 1.7% of the entire cohort, and an annual incidence of 0.5 per 1000 person-years. During a median follow-up of 9.7 years after initial AF, 137 individuals with AF without comorbidities (79.2%) died and 141 individuals developed cardiovascular events (81.5%). AF without comorbidities had significantly lower mortality (HR 0.67, 95%CI 0.55-0.81, P <.001) and total cardiovascular events (HR 0.66, 95% CI 0.55-0.80, P <.001) compared with typical AF. However, mortality (HR1.43, 95% CI 1.18-1.75, P <.001) and risk of total cardiovascular events (HR 1.73, 95% CI 1.39-2.16, P <.001) were higher than age-, sex-, and cohort-matched individuals without AF. Conclusions The risk of cardiovascular outcomes and mortality among individuals with AF without comorbidities is lower than typical AF, but is significantly elevated compared with matched individuals without AF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-144
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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