Under-recognition of heart failure in patients with atrial fibrillation and the impact of gender: a UK population-based cohort study

Zakeri, R., Morgan, A. D., Sundaram, V., Bloom, C., Cleland, J. G.F. and Quint, J. K. (2021) Under-recognition of heart failure in patients with atrial fibrillation and the impact of gender: a UK population-based cohort study. BMC Medicine, 19, 179. (doi: 10.1186/s12916-021-02048-8) (PMID:34372832) (PMCID:PMC8353868)

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Abstract

Background: Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) complicated by heart failure (HF) have a poor prognosis. We investigated whether long term loop-diuretic therapy in patients with AF and no known diagnosis of HF, as a potential surrogate marker of undiagnosed HF, is also associated with worse outcomes. Methods: Adults with incident AF were identified from UK primary and secondary care records between 2004 and 2016. Repeat prescriptions for loop diuretics, without a diagnosis of HF or documented non-cardiac indication, were classified as ‘isolated’ loop diuretic use. Results: Amongst 124,256 people with incident AF (median 76 years, 47% women), 22,001 (17.7%) had a diagnosis of HF, and 22,325 (18.0%) had isolated loop diuretic use. During 2.9 (LQ-UQ 1–6) years’ follow-up, 12,182 patients were diagnosed with HF (incidence rate 3.2 [95% CI 3.1–3.3]/100 person-years). Of these, 3999 (32.8%) had prior isolated loop diuretic use, including 31% of patients diagnosed with HF following an emergency hospitalisation. The median time from AF to HF diagnosis was 3.6 (1.2–7.7) years in men versus 5.1 (1.8–9.9) years in women (p = 0.0001). In adjusted models, patients with isolated loop diuretic use had higher mortality (HR 1.42 [95% CI 1.37–1.47], p < 0.0005) and risk of HF hospitalisation (HR 1.60 [95% CI 1.42–1.80], p < 0.0005) than patients with no HF or loop diuretic use, and comparably poor survival to patients with diagnosed HF. Conclusions: Loop diuretics are commonly prescribed to patients with AF and may indicate increased cardiovascular risk. Targeted evaluation of these patients may allow earlier HF diagnosis, timely intervention, and better outcomes, particularly amongst women with AF, in whom HF appears to be under-recognised and diagnosed later than in men.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The study was funded by Imperial College London.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cleland, Professor John
Authors: Zakeri, R., Morgan, A. D., Sundaram, V., Bloom, C., Cleland, J. G.F., and Quint, J. K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Robertson Centre
Journal Name:BMC Medicine
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1741-7015
ISSN (Online):1741-7015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMC Medicine 19: 179
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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