Is atrial fibrillation an inflammatory disorder?

Eur Heart J. 2006 Jan;27(2):136-49. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehi645. Epub 2005 Nov 8.


There is mounting evidence to support the influence of inflammation in the pathogenesis of atrial fibrillation (AF). Indeed, AF is associated with increased levels of known inflammatory markers, even after adjustment for confounding factors. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) appears to play a key role in this process. Atrial biopsies from patients with AF have also confirmed the presence of inflammation. Furthermore, there is preliminary evidence to support a number of drug therapies that have the potential to reduce the clinical burden of AF. In this review, we present an overview of the evidence supporting a link between inflammation and AF, and some of the drug therapies, such as the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, steroids, fish oils, and vitamin C, that might be efficacious in the prevention of AF by modulating inflammatory pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / pathology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / prevention & control
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Coronary Thrombosis / pathology
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Myocarditis / pathology
  • Pericarditis / pathology
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology*
  • Steroids / therapeutic use


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Fish Oils
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Steroids
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Ascorbic Acid