Young adults with atrial fibrillation may be more likely to carry associated genes

A beating heart is shown against a medical backdrop, which suggests the information is used as part of clinical research.

Genes, lifestyle patterns, and environmental factors can influence and shape a person’s risk for developing a variety of conditions, ranging from heart disease to cancer. When it comes to determining genetic links with early-onset atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm, researchers have identified genes that vary from having a strong to potential link to the condition. A study in JAMA Cardiology describes a clinical trial with 1,293 participants younger than age 66 who were diagnosed with early-onset atrial fibrillation. Among these participants, 131 (10.1%) carried a rare gene associated with atrial fibrillation.  

These associations were stronger among younger participants. In this case, 20 out of 119 adults younger than age 30 (16.8%) had a rare gene associated with the faster heart rhythm. The researchers also identified stronger connections between patients who had genetic associations with inherited cardiomyopathiesa condition that causes the heart to become stiff or enlarged, compared to genetic associations with early-onset atrial fibrillation.  

The study was partially supported by the NHLBI, including the TOPMed program, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.