Comorbidities and risk factors

Several comorbidities and risk factors contribute to AF and the risk of stroke.

Several modifiable comorbidities and risk factors seem to promote AF development and maintain the arrhythmia (Figure 13).6

Examples of modifiable comorbidities that seem to promote atrial fibrillation development and maintain the arrhythmia

Figure 13. Examples of modifiable comorbidities that seem to promote AF development and maintain the arrhythmia.6

For instance, AF is associated with a 3-fold increase in the likelihood of developing CHF and the prevalence increases with worsening New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class. CHF risk is higher in people with permanent AF than those with persistent AF. In turn, CHF risk is higher in people with persistent than paroxysmal AF. Patients with AF and CHF show a poorer prognosis than with either alone.6 Therefore, risk factor modification is an important component of AF management.6 For instance, a study that followed patients for 5 years after experiencing a AF-related stroke, reported that statins reduced mortality by 48%.23

Heart rate control is discussed in the next section


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