Atrial fibrillation: new biomarker identified


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Noticias Médicas Univadis
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Fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23), which is usually associated with cardiac hypertrophy, chronic kidney disease and vascular stiffness, could also help to identify atrial fibrillation (AF), suggests new research published in the European Heart Journal.

Researchers analysed 40 common cardiovascular biomarkers in 638 consecutive patients referred to hospital with known AF or at least two CHA2DS2-VASc stroke risk factors as part of a new study. Traditional statistical analysis was combined with machine learning techniques to determine clinical risk factors, imaging parameters and biomarkers associated with AF.

The research found elevated brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23) were robustly associated with AF (odds ratio [OR] 1.293 per fold change increase; 95% CI 1.11-1.63; P=.002 and OR 1.667; 95% CI 1.36-2.34; P=.001, respectively).

“The research outcomes were surprising," said lead author Dr Larissa Fabritz, from the University of Birmingham. "The results around the effectiveness of the FGF-23 biomarker was an unexpected and new finding. FGF-23 is only currently used in a research-based environment, but we have shown how its use could be invaluable in a clinical setting." 

The researchers say further research is warranted to elucidate FGF-23-dependent mechanisms of AF.