Association of Smoking, Alcohol, and Obesity with Cardiovascular Death and Ischemic Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study and Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS)

PLoS One. 2016 Jan 12;11(1):e0147065. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147065. eCollection 2016.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke and cardiovascular (CV) death. Whether modifiable lifestyle risk factors are associated with these CV outcomes in AF is unknown. Among Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study and Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) participants with incident AF, we estimated the risk of composite endpoint of ischemic stroke or CV death associated with candidate modifiable risk factor (smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, or high body mass index [BMI]), and computed the C-statistic, net reclassification improvement (NRI), and integrated discrimination improvement (IDI) of incorporating each factor into the CHA2DS2-VASc. Among 1222 ARIC (mean age: 63.4) and 756 CHS (mean age: 79.1) participants with incident AF, during mean follow-up of 6.9 years and 5.7 years, there were 332 and 335 composite events respectively. Compared with never smokers, current smokers had a higher incidence of the composite endpoint in ARIC [HR: 1.65 (1.21-2.26)] but not in CHS [HR: 1.05 (0.69-1.61)]. In ARIC, the addition of current smoking did not improve risk prediction over and above the CHA2DS2-VASc. No significant associations were observed with alcohol consumption or BMI with CVD outcomes in AF patients from either cohort. Smoking is associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke or CV death in ARIC, which comprised mostly middle-aged to young-old (65-74 years), but not in CHS, which comprised mostly middle-old or oldest-old (≥75 years) adults with AF. However, addition of smoking to the CHA2DS2-VASc score did not improve risk prediction of these outcomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / mortality*

Grant support