BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) are at increased risks of cardiovascular diseases and mortality, but risks according to age at diagnosis have not been reported. This study investigated age-specific risks of outcomes among patients with AF and the background population.

METHODS: This nationwide population-based cohort study included patients with AF and controls without outcomes by the application of exposure density matching on the basis of sex, year of birth, and index date. The absolute risks and hazard rates were stratified by age groups and assessed using competing risk survival analyses and Cox regression models, respectively. The expected differences in residual life years among participants were estimated.

RESULTS: The study included 216 579 AF patients from year 2000 to 2020 and 866 316 controls. The mean follow-up time was 7.9 years. Comparing AF patients with matched controls, the hazard ratios among individuals ≤50 years was 8.90 [95% confidence interval (CI), 7.17-11.0] for cardiomyopathy, 8.64 (95% CI, 7.74-9.64) for heart failure, 2.18 (95% CI, 1.89-2.52) for ischaemic stroke, and 2.74 (95% CI, 2.53-2.96) for mortality. The expected average loss of life years among individuals ≤50 years was 9.2 years (95% CI, 9.0-9.3) years. The estimates decreased with older age.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings show that earlier diagnosis of AF is associated with a higher hazard ratio of subsequent myocardial disease and shorter life expectancy. Further studies are needed to determine causality and whether AF could be used as a risk marker among particularly younger patients.

TidsskriftEuropean Heart Journal
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 9 apr. 2024


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