Echocardiographic Measures of Cardiac Structure and Function Are Associated With Risk of Atrial Fibrillation in Blacks: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 16;9(10):e110111. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110111. eCollection 2014.


Background: Several studies have examined the link between atrial fibrillation (AF) and various echocardiographic measures of cardiac structure and function in whites and other racial groups but not in blacks. Exploring AF risk factors in blacks is important given that the lower incidence of AF in this racial group despite higher risk factors, is not completely explained.

Methods: We examined the association of echocardiographic measures with AF incidence in 2283 blacks (64.5% women, mean age 58.8 years) free of diagnosed AF and enrolled in the Jackson cohort of Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, a prospective study of cardiovascular disease. Echocardiography was performed in 1993-1995, and incident AF was determined by electrocardiograms at a follow-up study exam, hospitalization discharge codes and death certificates through the end of 2009. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for AF associated with the echocardiographic measures, adjusting for age, sex, and known AF risk factors.

Results: During an average follow-up of 13.5 years, 191 (8.4%) individuals developed AF. Left ventricular (LV) internal diameter 2-D (diastole) and percent fractional shortening of LV diameter displayed a U-shaped relationship with risk of AF, while left atrial diameter displayed a J-shaped nonlinear association. LV mass index was associated positively with AF. E/A ratio <0.7 or >1.5 and ejection fraction (EF <50%) were also associated with higher AF risk. These measures improved risk stratification for AF in addition to traditional risk factors, although not significantly {C-statistic of 0.767 (0.714-0.819) vs. 0.744 (0.691-0.797)}.

Conclusions: In a community-based population of blacks, echocardiographic measures of cardiac structure and function are significantly associated with an increased risk of AF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / ethnology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / pathology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Echocardiography*
  • Female
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors