WEDNESDAY, Oct. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Probands of African or Hispanic/Latino descent with early-onset atrial fibrillation (EOAF) are more likely than European Americans to have a first-degree relative with AF, according to a study published online Sept. 21 in JAMA Network Open.

Zain Alzahrani, M.D., from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues conducted a cohort study to examine the role of family history in the pathogenesis of EOAF in racial and ethnic minorities. A total of 664 patients were administered questionnaires that included questions on family history of AF.

The researchers found that 49 percent of probands with EOAF had a family history, compared with 22 percent of patients with non-EOAF (difference, 27 percent). Compared with probands with EOAF of European descent, those of African or Hispanic descent had increased adjusted odds of having a first-degree relative with AF (adjusted odds ratio, 2.69 and 9.25 versus 2.51). Across the three racial and ethnic groups, probands with EOAF were more likely to have a first-degree relative with AF compared with those with non-EOAF (adjusted odds ratio, 3.02). Compared with racially and ethnically matched control patients with non-EOAF, African American, European American, and Hispanic/Latino probands with EOAF were more likely to have a first-degree relative with confirmed AF.

“Our findings support genetic predisposition to EOAF across all three racial and ethnic groups studied and have important implications for identifying family members at risk for AF and screening candidate genes,” the authors write.

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