News | Atrial Fibrillation | March 27, 2018

Depression Linked to Increased Atrial Fibrillation Risk

People with symptoms of depression have a higher risk for heart rhythm disorder that increases the risk for stroke

Depression Linked to Increased Atrial Fibrillation Risk

March 27, 2018 — Depression may increase the risk for atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder that can lead to blood clot formation and stroke, according to preliminary research. The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018, March 20-23 in New Orleans.

Participants in the study who scored highest on a clinical screening test for depression as well as those taking anti-depressant medication had more than a 30 percent higher risk for developing atrial fibrillation than people with normal test scores and those not taking medications for depression.

The results suggest an association between two very common disorders, a finding that demands further research and greater awareness among both clinicians and patients, researchers said.

“Our findings identify a large portion of Americans who may be at an increased risk for developing atrial fibrillation and who may benefit from more targeted efforts to prevent this arrhythmia,” said study lead investigator Parveen Garg, M.D., M.P.H, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “If our findings are affirmed in future studies, especially those that formally assess for clinical depression, then we will need to see if treating depression may, in fact, lower the risk for atrial fibrillation.”

The findings stem from the national Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study, which involved more than 6,600 people from various ethnic groups. Participants, average age 62, had no known heart disease at the onset of the study and were followed for a median of 13 years.

Exactly how depression disrupts heart function remains unclear, researchers said, but several possible mechanisms have been suggested. These include increased levels of inflammation as well as elevated levels of certain hormones that directly or indirectly interfere with the heart’s ability to stay in a normal rhythm.

The new findings add further credence to the notion that mental health and heart health are closely intertwined, underscoring previous research showing an association between depression and heart disease.

“Clinicians and patients should be aware that depression has been shown in several studies to be a risk factor for heart disease in general and, in this study, for atrial fibrillation as well,” Garg said. “Treating depression is important for many reasons including cardiovascular health.”

Atrial fibrillation occurs when the upper two chambers of the heart begin to quiver chaotically, compromising their ability to propel blood into the two lower chambers of the heart. When blood pools in the upper chambers, it can lead to clot formation, which in turn can cause a stroke. Untreated atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of heart-related deaths and is associated with a 5-fold increased risk for stroke.

More than 16 million adults in the United States suffer from depression, according to estimates from the National Institutes of Health. Atrial fibrillation, the most common heart-rhythm disorder, affects some 2.7 million Americans, according to the American Heart Association’s 2018 Heart and Stroke Statistical Update.

Co-authors are Wesley O’Neal, M.D., M.P.H.; Ana Diez Roux, M.D., Ph.D.; Alvaro Alonso, M.D., Ph.D.; Elsayed Soliman, M.D., M.Sc., M.S.; and Susan Heckbert M.D., Ph.D. The authors reported no disclosures on the abstract.

For more information: www.professional.heart.org

 

Related Content

Rhythm Therapeutics gene, stem cell, therapy for atrial fibrillation.
News | Atrial Fibrillation | April 19, 2021
April 19, 2021 — National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has awarded a grant for $462,689 to Rhythm Therape
Medtronic's DiamondTemp Ablation (DTA) system is FDA cleared to treat patients with recurrent, symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) and who have been unresponsive to drug therapy. The DiamondTemp system is the first FDA-approved, temperature-controlled, irrigated radiofrequency (RF) ablation system with diamonds currently available to deliver ablations.

Medtronic's DiamondTemp Ablation (DTA) system is FDA cleared to treat patients with recurrent, symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) and who have been unresponsive to drug therapy. The DiamondTemp system is the first FDA-approved, temperature-controlled, irrigated radiofrequency (RF) ablation system with diamonds currently available to deliver ablations.

News | Atrial Fibrillation | January 29, 2021
January 29, 2021 — The U.S.
Patients with atrial fibrillation are at far greater risk of a catastrophic COVID outcomes, so steps should be taken to reduce AFib risks in addition to precautions against COVID like making, hand washing and social distancing. Images include an electromap from an AF ablation procedure and a COVID-19 from the CDC. 

Patients with atrial fibrillation are at far greater risk of a catastrophic COVID outcomes, so steps should be taken to reduce AFib risks in addition to precautions against COVID like making, hand washing and social distancing. Images include an electromap from an AF ablation procedure and a COVID-19 from the CDC. 

Feature | Atrial Fibrillation | January 27, 2021 | By John D. Day, M.D., T. Jared Bunch, M.D., and Matthew D. LaPlante
In our most challenging and distressing days, it is nice to think about a post-COVID-19 world. 
ECG with paroxysm correct form of atrial flutter. Getty Images

ECG with paroxysm correct form of atrial flutter. Getty Images

News | Atrial Fibrillation | December 23, 2020
December 23, 2020 — The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) has made two up
The three-year clinical outcomes of the mHealth Screening to Prevent Strokes (mSToPS) study evaluated the detection of silent, or previously undiagnosed, atrial fibrillation (AF) in moderate-risk individuals using the FDA-cleared Zio by iRhythm ambulatory monitoring patch. The results support the clinical value of early screening and targeted detection in moderate-risk populations. #AHA #AHA20 #AHA2020

The three-year clinical outcomes of the mHealth Screening to Prevent Strokes (mSToPS) study evaluated the detection of silent, or previously undiagnosed, atrial fibrillation (AF) in moderate-risk individuals using the FDA-cleared Zio by iRhythm ambulatory monitoring patch. The results support the clinical value of early screening and targeted detection in moderate-risk populations.

News | Atrial Fibrillation | November 16, 2020
November 16, 2020 — The three-year clinical outcomes of the mHealth Screening to Prevent Strokes (mSToPS) study evalu
The Medtronic SEEQ mobile cardiac telemetry system, pictured here, and the Icentia CardioSTAT cardiac rhythm monitoring device both found in reased rates of post-operative atrial fibrillation in the SEARCH-AF trial presented at the American Heart Association annual meeting. #AHA #AHA20 #AHA2020

The Medtronic SEEQ mobile cardiac telemetry system, pictured here, and the Icentia CardioSTAT cardiac rhythm monitoring device both found in reased rates of post-operative atrial fibrillation in the SEARCH-AF trial presented at the American Heart Association annual meeting.

News | Atrial Fibrillation | November 16, 2020
November 16, 2020 — Atrial fibrill...
The Medtronic Arctic Front cryoballoon balloon was used a a front-line treatment of AF in the EARLY-AF trial. It was found to be better than anti-arrhythmic drugs in preventing the recurrence of abnormal heart rhythm (atrial tachyarrhythmia, atrial fibrillation), and improve patient well-being.  #AHA #AHA2020 #AHA20

The Medtronic Arctic Front cryoballoon balloon was used a a front-line treatment of AF in the EARLY-AF trial. It was found to be better than anti-arrhythmic drugs in preventing the recurrence of abnormal heart rhythm (atrial tachyarrhythmia, atrial fibrillation), and improve patient well-being.  

News | Atrial Fibrillation | November 16, 2020
November 16, 2020 – Doctors from the Mo...