, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 267-273

Atrial Fibrillation: A Risk Factor for Increased Mortality – An AVID Registry Analysis

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Abstract

Emerging evidence suggests that atrial fibrillation is not a benign arrhythmia. It is associated with increased risk of death. The magnitude of association is controversial and potential causes remain unknown. Patients in the registry of the Antiarrhythmics Versus Implantable Defibrillators (AVID) Trial form the basis for this report. Baseline variables, in particular the presence or absence of a history of atrial fibrillation/flutter, were examined in relation to survival. Multivariate Cox regression was used to adjust for differences in important baseline co-variables using 27 pre-selected variables. There were 3762 subjects who were followed for an average of 773±420 days; 1459 (39%) qualified with ventricular fibrillation and 2303 (61%) with ventricular tachycardia. A history of atrial fibrillation/flutter was present in 24.4 percent. There were many differences in baseline variables between those with and those without a history of atrial fibrillation/flutter. After adjustment for baseline differences, a history of atrial fibrillation/flutter remained a significant independent predictor of mortality, (relative risk=1.20; 95% confidence intervals=1.03−1.40; p=0.020). Antiarrhythmic drug use, other than amiodarone or sotalol, was also a significant independent predictor of mortality (relative risk 1.34; 95% confidence intervals 1.07−1.69, p=0.011. Atrial fibrillation/flutter is a significant independent risk factor for increased mortality in patients presenting with ventricular tachyarrhythmias. This risk may have been overestimated in previous studies that could not adjust for the proarrhythmic effects of antiarrhythmic drugs other than amiodarone or sotalol.