Patients with depression may be at higher risk of atrial fibrillation


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Patients with depression could have a substantially increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AF), suggests new research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. 

The study investigated the association of depression and antidepressant treatment with the risk of developing AF among 785,254 Danish citizens who initiated antidepressant treatment between 2000 and 2013 and a 1:5 matched sample from the general population. 

It found that antidepressant treatment was associated with a three-fold higher risk of AF during the first month (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 3.18; 95% CI 2.98-3.39). The association gradually reduced thereafter to 1.37-fold at 2-6 months and 1.11-fold at 6-12 months. Of note, the associated AF risk was higher in the month before starting antidepressant treatment (aHR 7.65; 95% CI 7.05-8.30) from 30 to 15 days before, and (aHR 4.29; 95% CI 3.94-4.67) the last 15 days before. 

The authors said the observation of a decreasing association between AF risk and antidepressant use over time could suggest that treatment might moderate this risk.

“In light of the considerable prevalence of depression and the public health impacts of AF, further investigation is called for to determine whether depression represents a potentially modifiable risk factor for developing AF and related morbidities,” they concluded.