Background: The extent to which atrial fibrillation (AF) contributes to mortality in the Japanese general population has not been clarified.
Methods and results: A randomly sampled general population from all over Japan (4,154 men, 5,329 women; age > or =30 years) was enrolled. Single electrocardiogram recordings were taken in the baseline survey. Stroke death, cardiovascular deaths and all-cause deaths during the subsequent 19 years were analyzed by the presence of AF at baseline. Cox's regression analysis was carried out to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) of each cause of death attributable to AF after adjusting for other risk factors. Prevalence of AF was 0.64% in the study. The observed person-years were 162,980 among persons without AF and 699 among persons with AF. There were 1,919 deaths. Multivariate adjusted HRs for stroke death, cardiovascular death and all-cause death were 2.69, 2.76 and 1.88, respectively (p<0.05). These HRs were 14.7, 9.63 and 4.00 among persons aged 64 years or younger (p<0.05).
Conclusion: AF affects stroke mortality, cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mortality in the Japanese general population. Careful attention should be paid to persons with AF in order to prevent future cardiovascular events.