Little is known about the long-term, cause-specific mortality risk in patients without comorbidities at the time of diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AF).
From a nation-wide registry of patients hospitalized with incident AF between 1995 and 2008 we identified 9 519 patients with a first diagnosed AF and no comorbidities at the time of AF diagnosis. They were matched with 12 468 controls. The follow-up continued until December 2008. Causes of death were classified according to the ICD-10 codes.
During follow-up, 11.1% of patients with AF and 8.3% of controls died. Cardiovascular diseases were the most common causes of death and the only diagnoses which showed significantly higher relative risk in patients with AF than controls (HR 2.0, 95% CI 1.8-2.3), and the relative risk was significantly higher in women than in men. Stroke was a more common cause among patients with AF, 13.1% versus 9.7% (HR 2.7, 95% CI 1.8-4.0), while cerebral hemorrhage was more common among controls, 4.7% versus 10.2% (HR 0.9, 95% CI 0.6-1.5). The time from AF diagnosis to death was 6.0?±?3.1?years.
In patients with incident AF and no known comorbidities at the time of AF diagnosis, only cardiovascular diseases were more often causes of death as compared to controls. Women carried a significantly higher relative risk than men.