A blood test can help in detecting the risk of Atrial fibrillation and stroke among the people who are genetically predisposed to the development of the problem, reveals a new study.
The number of people affected by atrial fibrillation has been rising rapidly, partly as a result of the ageing population.
Over recent years, a research group at Lund University in Sweden, working with other universities and hospitals in Europe and the USA has identified twelve genetic variants in the human genome that increase the risk of atrial fibrillation.
Olle Melander, Professor of Internal Medicine, and Gustav Smith, Associate Professor in Cardiology, both from Lund University stated that one in five people have a genetic weakness that means they have twice as high a risk of developing atrial fibrillation as those with a low genetic risk and this genetic risk was therefore one of the strongest risk factors for atrial fibrillation that they know of in people without overt cardiac disease, so it increases the risk as much as high blood pressure.
Melander further mentioned that the present results are one of several examples of how genetics research was not only an effective way of identifying new disease mechanisms, but could also have clinical applications and help doctors and patients to decide on the right tests and treatment.
If an individual with atrial fibrillation is regarded as having a sufficiently high stroke risk, lifelong treatment with anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin would be required in order to lower the risk.