-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The heart rhythm disorder
atrial fibrillation is increasingly common in kidney dialysis
patients and puts them at increased risk for death, researchers
In a new study, investigators analyzed data from the U.S. Renal
Data System and found that the prevalence of atrial fibrillation
increased more than threefold between 1992 and 2006, from 3.5
percent to 10.7 percent of dialysis patients. The actual number of
affected patients increased sixfold, due to the increasing number
of people in the United States who require dialysis.
Among dialysis patients most likely to experience atrial
fibrillation were older patients and those with other medical
conditions. Whites appear to be at a higher risk than patients of
other racial/ethnic groups, according to the study, which is
scheduled for publication in an upcoming issue of the
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The researchers found that the one-year risk of death for
dialysis patients with atrial fibrillation was nearly 40 percent,
compared with 19 percent for patients without the heart rhythm
"Having atrial fibrillation doubled the patient's mortality [death] risk, and sadly, that excess risk did not at all decline over the 15 years of the study," study author Dr. Wolfgang C. Winkelmayer, of Stanford University School of Medicine, said in a journal news release.
"Research is sorely needed to understand potentially modifiable risk factors for atrial fibrillation in this vulnerable population," he and his colleagues concluded.
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