Background: Atrial fibrillation is associated with increased mortality. We hypothesized that the death rate in atrial fibrillation patients in Denmark has diminished during the period 1980-1993.
Methods: In a random sample of half of the Danish population, 30 330 patients were found to have a diagnosis of incident atrial fibrillation in the Danish National Hospital Discharge Register 1980-1993. Information on previous and concomitant cardiovascular and metabolic diseases during the period 1977-1993 was sought in the register. The temporal trend in total and cardiovascular mortality in the cohort of atrial fibrillation patients was analysed.
Results: A significant decrease in total and cardiovascular mortality was seen, 12-13% for total mortality and 17-18% for cardiovascular mortality. By adjusting for the decreasing cardiovascular mortality rate in the general population, a decrease in the relative risk of total mortality of 8-13% with time was seen for the atrial fibrillation cohort, compared with the population risk, while no reduction in the relative risk of cardiovascular death was seen.
Conclusion: A significant decrease in mortality with calendar period occurred in the cohort of atrial fibrillation patients.
Copyright 1999 The European Society of Cardiology.