Ethnic differences in atrial fibrillation among patients with heart failure in Asia

ASIAN-HF Investigators, Eugene S. J. Tan, Vera Goh, Bernadet T. Santema, Wan Ting Tay, Tiew-Hwa Katherine Teng, Jonathan Yap, Jasper Tromp, Chung-Lieh Hung, Vijay Chopra, Inder Anand, Michael R. MacDonald, Lieng Hsi Ling, Isabelle C. Van Gelder, Michiel Rienstra, Adriaan A. Voors, A. Mark Richards, Carolyn S. P. Lam*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Aims We aimed to characterize ethnic differences in prevalence, clinical correlates, and outcomes of atrial fibrillation (AF) in heart failure (HF) with preserved and reduced ejection fraction (HFpEF and HFrEF) across Asia.

Methods and results Among 5504 patients with HF prospectively recruited across 11 Asian regions using identical protocols in the Asian Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure study (mean age 61 +/- 13 years, 27% women, 83% HFrEF), 1383 (25%) had AF defined as a history of AF and/or AF/flutter on baseline electrocardiogram. Clinical correlates of AF were similar across ethnicities and included older age, prior stroke, higher NT-proBNP, and larger left atria. Diabetes was associated with lower odds of AF in HFrEF [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.79, 95% CI 0.66-0.95] and HFpEF (AOR 0.58, 95% CI 0.39-0.84) regardless of ethnicity. Compared with Chinese ethnicity, Japanese/Koreans had higher odds of AF in HFrEF (AOR 1.76, 95% CI 1.40-2.21), while Indians had lower odds in HFrEF (AOR 0.18, 95% CI 0.13-0.24) and HFpEF (AOR 0.28, 95% CI 0.16-0.49) even after adjusting for clinical covariates. Interaction between ethnicity and region was observed among Indians, with Southeast Asian Indians having higher odds of AF (AOR 3.01, 95% CI 1.60-5.67) compared with South Asian Indians. AF was associated with poorer quality of life and increased risk of 1 year all-cause mortality or HF hospitalisation (adjusted hazard ratio 1.39, 95% CI 1.18-1.63) regardless of ethnicity.

Conclusions Among patients with HF across Asia, clinical correlates and adverse outcomes associated with AF are similar across ethnicities; however, there are striking ethnic variations in the prevalence of AF that are not accounted for by known risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1419-1429
Number of pages11
JournalESC Heart Failure
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2020


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • RISK

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