BEAT-AFib 24 Month Milestone

By December 2, 2022 December 9th, 2022 No Comments

What we aim to do in BEAT-AFib

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF) is the most common heart arrhythmia seen in practice. However, we do not currently have a good way of identifying patients who are most at risk for developing AFib, nor are we able to identify who might progress to having more frequent episodes in patients already diagnosed with AFib. While we have ways to treat AFib, we are still looking for strategies for preventing AFib from occurring in the first place. Therefore, in this novel study, we aim to fill in these gaps and identify the various factors that contribute to AFib development and progression. We are studying biomarkers—molecules in the blood that might be an indicator of risk. You can think of cholesterol as a biomarker for developing coronary disease, but we don’t currently have a “cholesterol” for AFib.  We hope to change that. 

We are also looking at other potential markers, other than those that might be found in the blood. For example, we are studying subtle structural changes of the heart via imaging (using echocardiography and MRI in some participants) that might predate the occurrence of AFib. We are also studying electrical abnormalities from ECGs using a new approach of recording high-resolution ECGs to pick up subtle signals not present on a standard ECG. We are also interested in how behaviors (e.g. sleep, exercise, and stress) might affect the risk as well. Together, we are contributing to a growing body of research that will help us better understand the development and progression of AFib.

Your contribution

Since the BEAT-AFib study began in September 2020, we have enrolled 215 patients. Together, our research participants have helped us collect 11,037 Kardia AliveCor ECG recordings, 34,050 hours of VivaLNK patch ECG data, and 254 high-resolution ECGs (at baseline and follow-up visits). Since our last update in July, we have collected 3,529 Kardia AliveCor ECG recordings, 4,770 hours of VivaLNK patch ECG data, and 62 high-resolution ECGs. We are still recruiting new participants to match our three groups (those with AFib, those with AFib risk factors, and controls).

Who are our participants?

The average age of the BEAT-AFib study participants is 66 years old, and 63% of participants are male. Approximately 50% of our participants have AFib and 50% do not have a history of AFib. We hope to use the data collected from this study to find new predictors of developing AFib or developing more progressive forms of AFib. Looking at the distribution of common AFib risk factors amongst our non-AFib study population, 60% of our participants have a history of hypertension (high blood pressure), 60% of our population are age 65 or older, and 30% have obstructive sleep apnea.

The BEAT-AFib Blood Draw

In our study, participants undergo a blood draw during their in-person visits. We collect blood for both clinical and research laboratory measurements. Age (65 and older), high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart failure are all risk factors for atrial fibrillation (AFib). To determine whether we can predict some of these risk factors, we collect several clinical labs including: a fasting lipid panel, hemoglobin A1c, and C-Reactive protein. With the research laboratory measurements, we hope to identify markers of atrial fibrosis (scarring of the tissue in the heart’s top chambers) early on and before its progression. This will help us identify patients who are at risk for AFib development or progression. To learn and read more about what we’re looking for with these measurements, you can click the link below.


AFib Research Update

Since our last newsletter several months ago, our colleagues at UCSF have started new research projects and published papers on atrial fibrillation. Click the button to check out what we’ve been up to!


What’s New in the BEAT-AFib Study?

The BEAT-AFib Study Team is always listening to our participants’ feedback on how we can make this study better and in the past few months, we have created some new BEAT-AFib resources and app features for our participants. Click the button to check them out!


Traveling with your Devices

Traveling this winter? Well, you can still contribute to BEAT-AFib! Click the button to read our winter tips for traveling with your devices.

BEAT-AFib Study Team

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