Does Stress Raise Risk of Atrial Fibrillation? Interview with:

Simon Graff MD Department of Public Health Research Unit for General Practice Aarhus University Aarhus C, Denmark

Dr. Simon Graff

Simon Graff MD
Department of Public Health
Research Unit for General Practice
Aarhus University
Aarhus C, Denmark What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The presented study is a continuation of our interest in the role of stress and the possible causes of atrial fibrillation.  We published a study that showed that spousal bereavement were followed by a transiently increased risk of new onset of atrial fibrillation. With spousal bereavement being one of the most stressful life-event, we wanted to know whether minor and differentiated stress exposures had an effect as well. Therefore we used register based data on perceived stress as a new measure of exposure. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: This is the first large population based study to examine the association between perceived stress and atrial fibrillation. As mentioned above, our understanding of this association has been limited and difficult to study.

We are presenting data for the first time, that suggest that there is no direct causal effect between perceived stress and a subsequent risk of atrial fibrillation.

Moreover, the study is strengthen by a substantial level of information on comorbidity, socioeconomic and lifestyle factors for adjustments in analyses. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future studies should aim to further classify whether specific stress exposures are needed to cause atrial fibrillation. Moreover, a deeper understanding on the role of socioeconomic factors and lifestyle is warranted to identify particular vulnerable groups at risk. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We hope that our report will bring new knowledge to the discussions regarding the influence of stress on the human body. It is still our belief that certain causes of exposure may bring about pathophysiological to the heart and we hope this work will help in that regard. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Does perceived stress increase the risk of atrial fibrillation? A population-based cohort study in Denmark
Simon Graff, Anders Prior, Morten Fenger-Grøn, Bo Christensen, Charlotte Glümer, Finn Breinholt Larsen, Mogens Vestergaard

American Heart Journal March 12, 2017

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on

[wysija_form id=”5″]




Last Updated on March 15, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD