Making the Link Between CKD & Atrial Fibrillation

Previous studies have shown that patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD), including those on dialysis, have an increased risk for atrial fibrillation (AF). There are limited data, however, on the prevalence and risk factors of AF in less severe CKD, which is substantially more common than end-stage renal disease. Over 25 million adults in the United States have CKD; most of them are in the early stages of CKD. Understanding the prevalence and risk factors of AF in these patients has important public health, epidemiological, and clinical implications. Important New Data New research suggests that patients with CKD, even in its early stages, have similar rates of AF. In a study published in the June 2010 American Heart Journal, my colleagues and I at Wake Forest University attempted to better define the link between CKD and AF using data from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC), a study sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which is part of the NIH. We found that nearly 20% of study participants with early stages of CKD had evidence of AF, a rate similar to what has been reported among patients with end-stage renal disease. This rate is also two to three times the AF rates reported in the general population using similar AF detection methods. Another key finding from our investigation was that the risk factors for AF in patients with CKD did not appear to be the same as those seen in the general population. Contrary to the general population, the following were not significant risk factors for AF in CKD patients: Race/ethnicity Hypertension...