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 cardiomyopathies, a 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.