Hospital  >  News & media  >  News

Patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation who seek cardiologist care more likely to survive first year

Nov 27, 2017

SHARE

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is growing to epidemic proportions worldwide. Investigators, hypothesizing that patients who received comprehensive cardiovascular care had a greater likelihood of survival during the first year following their initial diagnosis, found that cardiologist care was associated with a 32% lower death rate. However, views differ regarding whether this is a real effect requiring all AF patients to see a cardiologist, or an artifact of the study population. The study results are reported alongside an editorial in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

AF is a common disorder, consisting of skipped or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. There are an estimated 30 million cases worldwide. Untreated, AF doubles the risk of heart-related deaths and is associated with a five-fold increased risk for stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

“Variations in AF care across medical specialties are well known,” explained lead investigator Sheldon M. Singh, MD, Cardiologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Assistant Professor of Cardiology/Electrophysiology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto. “Other than stroke prevention therapy, no other therapy has been associated with improved survival in patients with AF. Heart failure and sudden death account for 35-50% of AF deaths, so we hypothesized that comprehensive cardiovascular care beyond stroke prevention may improve overall survival in AF patients.”

PDF / View full media release »