African-Americans less likely to have atrial fibrillation...

Discussion in 'Black Health and Wellness' started by Aqil, Feb 14, 2004.

  1. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Feb 3, 2001
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    New York
    HeartCenterOnline (Feb. 12) - African-Americans diagnosed with heart failure are less likely to experience atrial fibrillation as a complication than Caucasians. The results of the study are surprising because African-Americans with heart failure generally fare worse than Caucasians.

    The findings, which appear in the Feb. 4 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, seem to conflict with medical evidence that show African-Americans having higher risk-factors that could lead to atrial fibrillation. Hypertension and diabetes, both of which are more prevalent in African-Americans, are two risk factors for atrial fibrillation (AF).

    AF is the most common type of sustained arrhythmia, affecting about 2 million Americans each year. In AF, the atria (the heart's upper chambers) quiver rather than contract normally. The result is an abnormally fast and/or abnormal heartbeat. This may cause blood to pool in the atria, increasing the risk of blood clots. If a blood clot breaks off into the general circulation, stroke may result.

    AF causes approximately 15% of all strokes, and is associated with both greater complications and greater risk of death from heart attacks in people over the age of 65.

    The reason behind African-Americans' lower AF prevalence is unclear. However, other recent findings have shown that the size of the left atrium in older African-Americans is smaller than those in Caucasians. Researchers said the size difference may partially explain the discrepancy. However, they stress that more studies need to be performed.

    For a related story, see the article: "Minority Women Unaware of Higher Heart Risk."

    For more information on high blood pressure and/or diabetes in African-Americans, see the following Patient Guides:

    High Blood Pressure and African-Americans
    Diabetes and African-Americans

    For more information on arrhythmias in general, see HeartCenterOnline's Arrhythmia Center.

    This information can be found by going to