Atrial fibrillation and left atrial size and function: a Mendelian randomization study

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Atrial fibrillation (AF) patients have enlarged left atria (LA), but prior studies suggested enlarged atria as both cause and consequence of AF. The aim of this study is to investigate the causal association between AF and LA size and function. In the UK Biobank, all individuals with contoured cardiovascular magnetic resonance data were selected. LA maximal volume (LA max), LA minimal volume (LA min), LA stroke volume and LA ejection fraction were measured and indexed to body surface area (BSA). Two-sample Mendelian randomization analyses were performed using 84 of the known genetic variants associated with AF to assess the association with all LA size and function in individuals without prevalent AF. A total of 4274 individuals (mean age 62.0 ± 7.5 years, 53.2% women) were included. Mendelian randomization analyses estimated a causal effect between genetically determined AF and BSA-indexed LA max, LA min, and LA ejection fraction, but not between AF and LA stroke volume. Leave-one-out analyses showed that the causal associations were attenuated after exclusion of rs67249485, located near PITX2 gene. Our results suggest that AF causally increases LA size and decreases LA ejection fraction. The AF risk allele of rs67249485, located near the PITX2 gene, contributes strongly to these associations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8431
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19-Apr-2021

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