Researchers who studied a group of hemodialysis (HD) patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators found that atrial fibrillation (AF) onset occurs significantly more frequently on dialysis days and specifically increases during the dialysis procedure itself, according to a study published online ahead of print in Heart.

Additionally, results showed that patients with AF have a larger left atrium and a higher systolic blood pressure before and after HD, the researchers reported.

The study, which was led by Lieselot van Erven, MD, of Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands, included 40 patients (80% male) with a mean age of 70 years and a mean follow-up of 28 months. The researchers monitored 428 episodes of AF in 14 patients.

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“These findings might help to elucidate some aspects of the pathophysiology of AF in dialysis patients and could facilitate early detection of AF in these high-risk patients,” the authors concluded.