Chronic kidney disease can put patients with irregular heartbeat at an increased stroke risk, suggests a new study.
Researchers from Kaiser Permanente have found that chronic kidney disease quadruples the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) the most common type of heart arrhythmia.
"Our study suggests that kidney function may provide an additional clue about how to best assess stroke risk and decide upon the best prevention strategy for patients with AF," said study's lead author Dr Alan S. Go, Director of the Comprehensive Clinical Research Unit at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.
Kidney disease may increase the risk of stroke in patients with AF by causing inflammation and stiffening of arteries.
Also, decreased kidney function itself may be a marker for the build up of plaque in the arteries, said Go.
In the ATRIA Study, the researchers analysed the data of 13,535 adults with AF.
They found that a lower level of kidney function was associated with a graded, increased risk of ischemic stroke and blood clots that travel through the circulatory system, independent of known risk factors for AF.
The study appears in journal Circulation.