AFib Research Update – December 2023

AFib Research from UCSF and Beyond

Atrial Ectopy as a Predictor of Incident Atrial Fibrillation:

A recent paper, authored by Dr. Gregory Marcus and Dr. Thomas Dewland of UCSF’s Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology, takes a look at premature atrial contractions (PACs) and investigates whether PACs can be used to better predict AFib risk. PACs are extra beats that come from the top chamber of your heart (see our article: “What are PACs”). In their study, a total of 1260 adults without AFib were administered a 24-hour ECG to detect the number of PACs for each patient. The researchers then added the PACs they collected to an algorithm that predicts AFib risk in patients. They found that adding PACs to the algorithm as a factor led to being able to better determine who was more at risk for AFib and to what degree they would be at risk for AFib. Further investigations will look to see if treating PACs can preventively reduce the risk of AFib.

To read the article click here.

Frequent Premature Atrial Contractions Lead to Adverse Atrial Remodeling and Atrial Fibrillation in a Swine Model: 

One goal of the BEAT-AFib Study is to better understand the relationship between premature atrial complexes (PACs) and AFib. A new study led by Dr. Edward Gerstenfeld, one of the BEAT-AFib Study’s primary investigators and Chief of Cardiac Electrophysiology at UCSF, set out to explore this very relationship. Frequent PACs are often associated with the development of AFib, but how exactly PACs help contribute to AFib is still being understood. One idea is that frequent PACs lead to what is called “remodeling” of the atria, one of the upper chambers of your heart, meaning that PACs lead to a change in the structure and function of the atria (see our article: “What are PACs?”). This study aimed to explore the effect of frequent PACs from different sites on atrial remodeling in a swine model. The four swine that were used underwent ultrasounds of their heart followed by getting pacemaker implantations which were used to trigger PACs in the swine. Results showed that frequent PACs caused adverse atrial structural remodeling with an increased likelihood to lead to AFib. Ultimately, the data from this study provides evidence that frequent PACs can potentially cause adverse atrial remodeling as well as AFib. 

To read the article click here.

Armeen Namjou Khaless, M.S.

Author Armeen Namjou Khaless, M.S.

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