Aims: To investigate the relation between baseline frequency of premature atrial complexes (PACs) and new atrial fibrillation (AF) and adverse cardiovascular events.
Method and results: Four hundred and twenty-eight patients without AF or structural heart disease undergoing 24 h electrocardiography monitoring for palpitations, dizziness, or syncope were recruited. One hundred and seven patients with number of PACs at the top quartile (i.e. > 100PACs/day) were defined to have frequent PACs. After 6.1-year follow-up, 31 patients (29%) with frequent PACs developed AF compared with 29 patients (9%) with PACs ≤ 100/day (P< 0.01). Cox regression analysis revealed that frequent PACs [hazard ratio (HR): 3.22 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.9-5.5; P< 0.001)], age >75 years (HR: 2.3; 95% CI: 1.3-3.9; P= 0.004), and coronary artery disease (HR: 2.5; 95% CI: 1.4-4.4; P= 0.002) were independent predictors for new AF. Concerning the composite endpoint (ischaemic stroke, heart failure, and death), patients with frequent PACs were more at risk than those without (34.5 vs. 19.3%) (HR: 1.95; 95% CI: 1.37-3.50; P= 0.001). Cox regression analysis showed that age >75 years (HR: 2.2; 95% CI: 1.47-3.41; P< 0.001), coronary artery disease (HR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.42-3.44, P< 0.001), and frequent PACs (HR: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.04-2.44; P= 0.03) were independent predictors for the secondary composite endpoint.
Conclusion: Frequent PACs predict new AF and adverse cardiovascular events.