Study finds AF more common for whites, more deadly for blacks

Recent research shows that atrial fibrillation (AF), while more common in white people, is much more dangerous and deadly for black individuals.

The study, published June 22 in JAMA Cardiology, showed blacks with AF were 42 percent more likely to experience heart failure and 76 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease (CHD) that whites with AF. Blacks were more than twice as likely to have a stroke and twice as likely to die prematurely.

Lead author, Jared W. Magnani, MD, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues followed 15,080 people—3,831 of whom were black—for 20 years. The incidence rates of AF per 1,000 people was 8.1 in white people and 5.8 in black.

“Our findings have important public health implications,” Magnani et al. wrote. “First and most immediate is the need to bolster prevention of adverse outcomes in black individuals with AF. Our results indicate the increased vulnerability of black individuals to the outcomes of stroke, CHD, heart failure, and mortality relative to white individuals.”

The authors suggested citing such racial disparities in professional statements and guidelines for AF treatment and prevention. Such actions could improve treatment of AF for black individuals and other racial and ethnic minorities.