Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub,
MD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: Dr Fox and colleagues1 report the results of an analysis performed within
the Framingham Heart Study, showing that parental atrial fibrillation (AF)
increases the future risk for AF in offspring. However, the reasons for the
genetic susceptibility to developing AF remained unexplained. One factor the
authors did not investigate was the extent to which the genetic risk of AF
varied according to left atrial size in parents and offspring. We have previously
reported an echocardiographic study on 251 healthy young individuals and their
parents in which we found that parental and offspring atrial dimensions were
significantly correlated with one another.2 The
proportion of variance in the offspring left atrial dimension explained by
parental atrial dimension was 3.6%, increasing to 6.3% when left ventricular
mass and left ventricular diastolic function were accounted for. Left atrial
enlargement is an important predictor of AF,3 and
spontaneous conversion to sinus rhythm during AF has been shown to be associated
with smaller left atrial volumes.4 It would
be of interest if the Framingham investigators could assess left atrial dimension
in these persons to determine whether the genetic susceptibility to developing
AF in the offspring may be at least partially explained by the inheritance
in left atrial size.
Palatini P. Parental Atrial Fibrillation as a Risk Factor for Atrial Fibrillation in Offspring. JAMA. 2004;292(10):1174–1175. doi:10.1001/jama.292.10.1174-b
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