The risk of stroke in persons aged 60 years and younger with lone atrial fibrillation (LAF) is no greater than in the general population. The effect of older age on the risk of stroke in persons with LAF is less well established.
Participants and Methods
The risk of stroke in persons with LAF and without substantial comorbidities was examined in a population-based study at a single institution in Olmsted County, Minnesota, and compared with that in an age- and sex-matched population. The mean age was 74 years (range, 61-97 years). The median duration of follow-up was 9.6 years until death or last follow-up.
Of 55 patients, 26 had 31 cardiovascular events during follow-up, occurring a median of 5.1 years after diagnosis (range, 0.7-18 years). Of 11 cerebrovascular events, 6 were transient ischemic attacks and 5 were strokes. The event rates (percentage per person-year) were 0.9% for stroke, 1.1% for transient cerebral ischemia, and 2.6% for myocardial infarction, for a total cardiovascular event rate of 5.0% per person-year. The corresponding rates for the age- and sex-matched control group were 0.2%, 0%, and 1.1%, for a total of 1.3% per person-year. The incidence of total cardiovascular events was significantly greater (P<.01) in those with LAF, although there was no difference in survival.
Lone atrial fibrillation occurring after age 60 years is a risk marker for a substantial increase in cardiovascular events that warrants consideration for antithrombotic therapy.