Increased risk of heart failure and atrial fibrillation in heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia


      • There is increased risk of coronary artery disease in familial hypercholesterolemia.
      • There is increased risk of heart failure in familial hypercholesterolemia.
      • There is increased risk of atrial fibrillation in familiar hypercholesterolemia.


      Background and aims

      Heart failure (HF) and atrial fibrillation/flutter (AF) are important causes of morbidity and mortality. Subjects with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) carry a high risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) but it is not known if the risk of HF and AF is increased in FH. The present study investigated the incidence of hospitalization for HF and AF in a genetically verified FH cohort, age 25 years and older, compared to the general population.


      Incidence rates of hospitalization for HF and AF were estimated from national registry data. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated.


      4273 genotyped FH patients (51.7% women) with a total observation period of 18,300 patient years were studied. Overall, the expected number of FH patients with HF was 27.7 and the observed number of cases was 54 (SIR (95% CI) 2.0 (1.5–2.6)). The highest excess risk was observed in the age group 25–49 years, where SIRs were 3.8 (1.2–11.8) and 4.2 (2.0–8.8) in women and men, respectively. The total expected number of FH patients with AF was 39.4 while the observed number of cases was 77 (SIR 2.0 (1.6–2.4)). Among FH patients with an incident event of HF, nearly 90% had a previous diagnosis of CAD, and nearly 40% had suffered from a myocardial infarction.


      We demonstrate a doubling of the risk of hospitalization for HF or AF in patients with FH. This is could have an important prognostic impact for patients and economic impact for the society.


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