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Research atrial fibrillation

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Research atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia and the number of people with A-FIB is increasing exponentially. The condition is increasingly being diagnosed at a younger age. The reason for this being lifestyle changes: less exercise, fattier and saltier food, and excess weight. The condition is associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart failure, dementia and death.

The annual cost per patient with A-fib in the Netherlands is € 2,328. In2016, 107,600 new patients with A-fib were registered into primary care, 22,000 out-patient admissions and 39,000 miscellaneous admissions for A-fib.

Lifestyle-related A-fib risk factors are, in theory, adaptable and are therefore potential treatment goals. A previously unrecognized and adaptable risk factor, the microbiome, may be part of the 40% unexplained risk of A-fib. Food and exercise are thought to be important in modifying the microbiome and may therefore affect the risk of cardiovascular disease such as A-fib. It is for this reason that the microbiome is part of the research.

The central hypothesis of the study links the progress of A-fib with vascular risks via the microbiome and other biological mechanisms of A-fib, including lifestyle-related risk factors.

The ultimate goal is to develop an algorithm that also includes lifestyle-related risk factors. The purpose of this algorithm is, then to predict the cardiovascular outcome in the individual A-fib patient.

This research proposal is part of and complements a larger research that is partly funded by the Heart Foundation.


University Medical Centre Groningen