About this Research Topic
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. AF increases the risk of death and dementia twofold, the risk of heart failure threefold and the risk of stroke fivefold. AF places a large burden on both individuals and public health systems. Multiple risk factors of AF have been described, including advancing age, male sex, diabetes, hypertension, valvular disease, heart failure, and obesity. Although many risk factors for AF have been described, its development remains highly variable. AF in the community affects a variety of individuals with different risk factor patterns. As a consequence the AF phenotype is highly biologically heterogeneous. Therefore, further elucidation of the mechanisms and signals involved in the process of development and progression of AF is required to ultimately improve therapeutic strategies to maintain sinus rhythm and prevent morbidity and mortality.
Atrial Fibrillation and Genetics
In the last 10 years, after discovery of the heritability of AF, multiple genome wide association studies (GWAS) have been published to unravel the genetic background of AF. Currently, over 20 genetic variants for AF are found. Research linking the AF (endo)phenotype of the individual with the genotype, will improve our understanding of underlying mechanisms of AF, but also make it possible to build multi-marker risk scores to better characterize individuals at risk for AF or with AF progression, and improve the prediction of risks for each individual. This sets the stage for personalized medicine of AF. More research on gene-environment (i.e. AF endophenotypes and AF risk factors), gene-gene interactions, and functional follow-up studies in experimental models help to further elucidate the functional mechanisms behind AF pathophysiology.
Atrial Fibrillation and Arterial Hypertension
High blood pressure, because of its high prevalence in the general population, is the most common condition associated with atrial fibrillation. Although the co-existence of these conditions makes understanding the role of high blood pressure in triggering and maintaining AF difficult, a number of putative mechanisms have been identified so far. They include genetic factors, hemodynamic factors, abnormalities in channels and cell junctions, and the activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. The comprehension of the mechanisms underlying the development of atrial fibrillation in hypertensive patients would allow effective prevention programs and treatment strategies, with reduction of cardioembolic strokes, dementia and cognitive dysfunction, and a better quality of life.
Within this Research Topic, we welcome articles (e.g., reviews, original research, mini reviews, perspectives) on Atrial Fibrillation interlinking the latest advances and therapeutics in the areas of Genetics, Hypertension, Rhythmology, Epidemiology and Prevention.
Keywords: atrial fibrillation, rhythmology, genetics, epidemiology, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, GWAS
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