FRIDAY, Sept. 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) — After controlling for height and/or body size, women without cardiovascular disease (CVD) at baseline have an increased risk for atrial fibrillation (AF) compared with men, according to a study published online Aug. 31 in JAMA Cardiology.
Hasan K. Siddiqi, M.D., from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues examined sex differences in AF incidence and whether AF risk factors differ by sex in a contemporary cohort of adults without prevalent CVD. The prospective cohort analysis was conducted within the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial Rhythm Study that examined the effect of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on incident AF. The analysis included 25,119 individuals.
The researchers confirmed 900 incident AF events among 12,362 men and 12,757 women during a median follow-up of 5.3 years. Women had a lower risk for incident AF than men after adjustment for age and treatment assignment (hazard ratio, 0.68). After further adjustment for multiple confounding variables, including body mass index (BMI), the inverse association persisted (hazard ratio, 0.73). When height, height and weight, or body surface area were substituted for BMI in the multivariable model, female sex was positively associated with AF (hazard ratios, 1.39, 1.49, and 1.25, respectively). Risk factor associations with incident AF were similar for women and men in stratified models.
“These data suggest that sex differences in body size account for much of the previously reported protective association between female sex and AF and underscore the importance of AF prevention in women,” the authors write.
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