MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Parveen K. Garg, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
Keck Hospital of USC
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Atrial fibrillation is the most commonly presenting cardiac arrhythmia in clinical practice, affecting over 2 million people in the United States. This arrhythmia accounts for up to 15% of all strokes and annual costs for AF treatment are estimated at over 6.5 billion dollars. Despite the growing public health challenge that AF poses, effective prevention strategies are lacking. In 2010, the American Heart Association identified metrics of ideal cardiovascular health known as Life’s Simple 7 to target for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. We wanted to determine whether adherence to these health metrics helps prevent atrial fibrillation as well.
Therefore, we examined the association between the Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) and incident atrial fibrillation in the REasons for Geographic And Ethnic Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. We found that individuals in this study with optimal cardiovascular health (high adherence to LS7 metrics) had an over 30% lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation compared to those with inadequate cardiovascular health (low adherence to LS7 metrics). We also observed that even minor improvements in adherence to the LS7 (increase in total score by 1-point) were associated with a 5% lower risk of atrial fibrillation.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: By demonstrating a relationship between higher LS7 scores and atrial fibrillation development, our findings build upon previous literature and suggest that improvements in LS7 health metrics may help to reduce the incidence of AF. We hope our findings will encourage clinicians to utilize the LS7 as a means to prevent atrial fibrillation in patients, especially those at-risk. The LS7 is an easily interpretable and widely available tool that can be easily applied at the patient-level to encourage improvements in these risk factors.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Corroboration of our findings in other large prospective cohorts will be important. Additionally, we cannot determine whether improvements in the LS7 metrics actually prevent atrial fibrillation based solely on our observational data. Formal evaluation of whether population-based efforts to improve LS7 health behaviors and risk factors decrease atrial fibrillation incidence is needed.
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Usefulness of the American Heart Association’s Life Simple 7 to Predict the Risk of Atrial Fibrillation (From the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke [REGARDS] Study)
Garg, Parveen K. et al.
American Journal of Cardiology , Volume 0 , Issue 0 ,
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