(HealthDay News) — There has been a decline in deaths related to atrial fibrillation (AF) over the last 45 years, according to a study published online in The BMJ.

Nicklas Vinter, MD, from Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues used data from participants (aged 45 to 95 years) in the Framingham Heart Study cohort in 1972 to 1985 (5671 participants), 1986 to 2000 (6177 participants), and 2001 to 2015 (6174 participants). Newly diagnosed AF or atrial flutter was assessed at each time period.

The researchers found that for participants with AF versus without AF, adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were 1.9 in time period 1, 1.4 in period 2, and 1.7 in period 3. Ten years after diagnosis of AF, the adjusted difference in restricted mean survival times between participants with AF and matched referents decreased by 31%, from −2.9 years in period 1, to −2.1 years in period 2, to −2.0 years in period 3.

“The mean number of life years lost to atrial fibrillation at 10 years had improved significantly, but a two-year gap compared with individuals without atrial fibrillation still remained,” the authors write.

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One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.


Vinter N, Huang Q, Fenger-Grøn M, Frost L, Benjamin EJ, Trinquart L. Trends in excess mortality associated with atrial fibrillation over 45 years (Framingham Heart Study): community based cohort study. BMJ 2020;370. doi:10.1136/bmj.m2724