Prevalence and implications of subclinical coronary artery disease in patients with atrial fibrillation
Coronary Artery Disease
The objective of this study was to examine prevalence and clinical implications of subclinical coronary artery disease (CAD) detected by coronary artery calcium score (CACS) testing in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). CACS was assessed in patients without history of CAD undergoing catheter ablation of AF. Age- and gender-matched patients with normal sinus rhythm (NSR) presenting with chest pain served as controls. Predicted arterial age using the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis registry was also compared to the chronologic age. A total of 860 patients (430 AF and 430 NSR, age 63 ± 10 years, 65% men) were included. Subclinical CAD prevalence (CACS >0) was 74% (319 of 430) in the AF group. Compared to the patients with NSR, patients with AF had higher prevalence of Subclinical CAD (74% vs 63%; p <0.001). In multivariate analysis, AF was independently associated with Subclinical CAD (hazard ratio 1.60; p = 0.002) but only with persistent AF (hazard ratio 2.28; p <0.001). Predicted arterial age was greater than chronologic age in patients with AF (69 ± 12 vs 64 ± 9 years). CACS-diagnosed subclinical CAD identified new potential candidates for statin therapy (12%; 33 of 267) and for oral anticoagulation (19%; 40 of 206) by addition of subclinical CAD to the CHA2DS2-VASc scores. In conclusion, in patients without known history of CAD, prevalence of subclinical CAD was significantly higher in those with persistent AF than those with NSR. AF was associated with subclinical CAD independently and complimentarily to clinical risk factors. Identifying subclinical CAD has potential clinical indications for prevention of CAD progression and stroke.