HIV Infection May Raise Risk for Atrial Fibrillation

Risk similar to known factors such as hypertension and diabetes

THURSDAY, Sept. 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- HIV infection is independently associated with an increased risk for atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a research letter published in the Sept. 17 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Mayank Sardana, M.B.B.S., from the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues used the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project California State Databases to identify all California state residents (age ≥21 years) who received care in an outpatient surgery unit, emergency department, or inpatient hospital unit from 2005 through 2011.

The researchers identified 17,293,971 patients (mean age, 49 years; 56 percent women; 18,242 with HIV), of whom 625,167 had a new diagnosis of AF during a median 4.7 years of follow-up. When adjusting for age, sex, race, income level, number of health care encounters during the study period, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, valvular heart disease, chronic kidney disease, cigarette smoking, and alcohol abuse, HIV infection was still associated with an increased risk for AF (hazard ratio, 1.46), including among those with either baseline or incident HIV infection (hazard ratios, 1.35 and 1.57, respectively). The relative risk of incident AF with HIV was significantly higher in younger patients, blacks, Hispanics, and those without hypertension, diabetes, or alcohol abuse.

"HIV infection was associated with a significantly increased risk of incident AF, suggesting that microbial infection can influence AF risk," the authors write.

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