Selection Bias Does Not Explain White Prevalence of Prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation Interview with:

Evan L. Thacker, PhD. Brigham Young University Provo, UT

Dr. Evan Thacker

Evan L. Thacker, PhD.
Assistant Professor
College of Life Sciences
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT What is the background for this study?

Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is diagnosed more commonly in whites than blacks in the United States. This seems paradoxical because blacks have higher prevalence of many risk factors for AF. Various explanations for this paradox have been proposed, including biological explanations as well as potential biases in research studies. We investigated one such bias – selection bias – as a potential explanation for the paradox. We did this by comparing the racial difference in atrial fibrillation prevalence among people who enrolled in an epidemiologic study versus people who were eligible to enroll in the study but did not enroll. What are the main findings?

Response: Although we found that white people enrolled in the study at higher rates than black people, we also found that people with atrial fibrillation enrolled in the study at the same rate as people without AF. We found the association of race with prevalent AF was similar among people who enrolled in the study and people who were eligible but did not enroll in the study. We did not find evidence to support selection bias as an explanation for the paradox. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our findings suggest that selection bias is not a viable explanation for the higher prevalence of atrial fibrillation among whites versus blacks in population studies. This points us toward the likelihood that biological explanations may eventually resolve the race and atrial fibrillation paradox. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Investigation of selection bias in the association of race with prevalent atrial fibrillation in a national cohort study: REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS)

Thacker, Evan L. et al. Annals of Epidemiology , July 12, 2016

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

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