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Women, African-Americans at Higher Risk of Heart Attack from Atrial Fibrillation
photoDoctors have known for years that atrial fibrillation (AF), or irregular heartbeat, increases the risk for stroke, but now researchers at Wake Forest Baptist have shown that it also increases the risk for heart attack. In fact, for women and African-Americans, it more than doubles the risk.

“AF is a disease of aging, and it is common, costly and has lots of complications,” said Elsayed Z. Soliman, MD, director of the Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE) and lead author. “Our study showed that patients with AF, especially women and African-Americans, are at an increased risk of heart attack compared to those without AF.”

In the study, the overall increase in risk of heart attack in those with AF was about 70 percent compared to those without AF. That risk was more than double in women and African-Americans, but less than 50 percent for men and whites.

The study was published in the JAMA Internal Medicine.

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