Cigarette smoking and risk of atrial fibrillation: the Rotterdam Study

Am Heart J. 2008 Dec;156(6):1163-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2008.08.003. Epub 2008 Oct 14.


Background: Cigarette smoking is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but it is unknown whether it also contributes to the risk of atrial fibrillation.

Methods and results: The study is part of the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort study among subjects aged > or =55 years. The association between cigarette smoking and the risk of atrial fibrillation was examined in 5,668 subjects without atrial fibrillation at baseline. During a median follow-up of 7.2 years, 371 cases of atrial fibrillation were identified. Relative risks (RR) were calculated with 95% CIs using the Cox proportional hazards model, adjusted for age, gender, body mass index, hypertension, systolic blood pressure, serum cholesterol level, diabetes mellitus, left ventricular hypertrophy on the electrocardiogram, prevalent and incident myocardial infarction, prevalent heart failure, and the use of pulmonary medication. After multivariate adjustment, current smokers and former smokers had increased risks of atrial fibrillation as compared to never smokers (RR 1.51, 95% CI 1.07-2.12; and RR 1.49, 95% CI 1.14-1.97, respectively). No differences were found between men and women.

Conclusions: The results of this prospective, population-based study show that current and former smoking of cigarettes are associated with increased risk of atrial fibrillation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology
  • Netherlands
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology*