Prognostic role of plasma von Willebrand factor and soluble E-selectin levels for future cardiovascular events in a 'real-world' community cohort of patients with atrial fibrillation

Eur J Clin Invest. 2013 Oct;43(10):1032-8. doi: 10.1111/eci.12140. Epub 2013 Aug 20.


Background: Endothelial damage/dysfunction may contribute to a prothrombotic state in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and the increased risk of thromboembolism and cardiovascular events. Raised plasma von Willebrand factor (vWf), an established marker of endothelial damage/dysfunction, has been associated with stroke and vascular events, at least in a clinical trial population. Soluble E-selectin (sE-sel) is another biomarker of endothelial activation/dysfunction, with more limited data on prognostic outcomes in AF.

Objective: To assess the relationship between the levels of vWf, sE-sel and clinical adverse outcomes (including stroke, MI and all-cause mortality) in a 'real-world' community cohort of patients with AF.

Methods: We studied 423 patients (mean age 72·7 ± 8·4 years, 55·6% male) with nonvalvular AF, with a median follow-up of 19 (9-31) months. Plasma vWf and sE-sel levels were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Results: There were 94 clinical adverse events (22·2%) observed during a median follow-up of 19 months. Patients with clinical events had significantly higher vWf (P < 0·001) and sE-sel levels at baseline (P < 0·001) compared with those who were event free. Kaplan-Meir analyses demonstrated that more clinical adverse events occurred in the upper tertile of vWf [upper vs. lowest tertile, RR 3·8, 95% CI (2·63-5·57), P < 0·001; upper vs. middle tertile, RR 10·5, 95% CI (5·33-20·60), P < 0·001]. Similarly, the highest tertile of sE-sel was associated with more adverse events [upper vs. lowest tertile, RR 3·7, 95% CI (2·51-5·31), P < 0·001; upper vs. middle tertile, RR 6·5, 95% CI (3·56-11·91), P < 0·001].

Conclusion: High plasma vWf and soluble E-selectin levels are associated with an increased risk of clinical adverse events (acute myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke and all-cause mortality) in 'real-world' patients with AF. These soluble biomarkers may potentially aid clinical risk stratification in this common arrhythmia.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; endothelial dysfunction; von Willebrand factor.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation / blood*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / mortality
  • E-Selectin / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality
  • Prognosis
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / mortality
  • von Willebrand Factor / metabolism*


  • E-Selectin
  • von Willebrand Factor