Atrial Fibrillation and Colonic Neoplasia in African Americans

PLoS One. 2015 Aug 28;10(8):e0135609. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135609. eCollection 2015.


Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) and atrial fibrillation/flutter (AF) share several risk factors including increasing age and obesity. However, the association between CRC and AF has not been thoroughly examined, especially in African Americans. In this study we aimed to assess the prevalence of AF and its risk factors in colorectal neoplasia in an African American.

Methods: We reviewed records of 527 African American patients diagnosed with CRC and 1008 patients diagnosed with benign colonic lesions at Howard University Hospital from January 2000 to December 2012. A control group of 731 hospitalized patients without any cancer or colonic lesion were randomly selected from the same time and age range, excluding patients who had diagnosis of both CRC and/or adenoma. The presence or absence of AF was based upon ICD-9 code documentation. The prevalence of AF in these three groups was compared by multivariate logistic regression.

Results: The prevalence of AF was highest among CRC patients (10%) followed by adenoma patients (7.2%) then the control group (5.4%, P for trend = 0.002). In the three groups of participants, older age (P<0.008) and heart failure (P<0.001) were significantly associated with higher risk of AF. After adjusting for these risk factors, CRC (OR: 1.4(95%CI):0.9-2.2, P = 0.2) and adenoma (OR: 1.1(95%CI):0.7-1.6, P = 0.7) were not significantly associated AF compared to control group.

Conclusions: AF is highly prevalent among CRC patients; 1 in 10 patients had AF in our study. The predictors of AF in CRC was similar to that in adenoma and other patients after adjustment for potential confounders suggesting that the increased AF risk in CRC is explained by higher prevalence of AF risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology*
  • Black or African American*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors