Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with various major adverse cardiac events such as ischemic stroke, heart failure, and increased overall mortality. However, its association with lethal ventricular arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia (VT), ventricular flutter (VFL), and ventricular fibrillation (VF) is controversial. We conducted this study to determine whether AF can increase the risk of VT, VFL, and VF. We utilized the Korean National Health Insurance Service database for this nationwide population-based study. This study enrolled people who underwent a nationwide health screen in 2009 for whom clinical follow-up data were available until December 2018. Primary outcome endpoint was the occurrence of VT, VFL, or VF in people who were and were not diagnosed with new-onset AF in 2009. We analyzed a total of 9,751,705 people. In 2009, 12,689 people were diagnosed with new-onset AF (AF group). The incidence (events per 1000 person-years of follow-up) of VT, VFL, and VF was 2.472 and 0.282 in the AF and non-AF groups, respectively. After adjustment for covariates, new-onset AF was associated with 4.6-fold increased risk (p < 0.001) of VT, VFL, and VF over 10 years of follow-up. The risk of VT, VFL, and VF was even higher if identification of AF was based on intensified criteria (≥ 2 outpatient records or ≥ 1 inpatient record; hazard ratio = 5.221; p < 0.001). In conclusion, the incidence of VT, VFL, and VF was significantly increased in people with new-onset AF. The potential risk of suffering lethal ventricular arrhythmia in people with AF should be considered in clinical practice.
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