Risk Factors Associated With Atrioventricular Block | Cardiology | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network
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    Original Investigation
    May 24, 2019

    Risk Factors Associated With Atrioventricular Block

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, Lahti, Finland
    • 2Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiology, University of California, San Francisco
    • 3Division of Cardiology, Heart and Lung Center, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
    • 4Research Unit of Internal Medicine, Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
    • 5The National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
    • 6Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco
    JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(5):e194176. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.4176
    Key Points español 中文 (chinese)

    Question  Are there readily modifiable risk factors associated with the risk of atrioventricular block?

    Findings  In this population-based cohort study of 6146 community-dwelling individuals, elevated blood pressure and blood glucose levels were associated with the development of atrioventricular block. Population-attributable risk calculations suggest that elevated blood pressure and glucose levels may be associated with more than half of all cases of atrioventricular block.

    Meaning  Optimizing blood pressure and glucose level control may serve as effective strategies to prevent clinically relevant conduction disease and pacemaker implantation.


    Importance  Pacemaker implantations as a treatment for atrioventricular (AV) block are increasing worldwide. Prevention strategies for AV block are lacking because modifiable risk factors have not yet been identified.

    Objective  To identify risk factors for AV block in community-dwelling individuals.

    Design, Setting, and Participants  In this population-based cohort study, data from the Mini-Finland Health Survey, conducted from January 1, 1978, to December 31, 1980, were used to examine demographics, comorbidities, habits, and laboratory and electrocardiographic (ECG) measurements as potential risk factors for incident AV block. Data were ascertained during follow-up from January 1, 1987, through December 31, 2011, using a nationwide registry. A total of 6146 community-dwelling individuals were included in the analysis performed from January 15 through April 3, 2018.

    Main Outcomes and Measures  Incidence of AV block (hospitalization for second- or third-degree AV block).

    Results  Among the 6146 participants (3449 [56.1%] women; mean [SD] age, 49.2 [12.9] years), 529 (8.6%) had ECG evidence of conduction disease and 58 (0.9%) experienced a hospitalization with AV block. Older age (hazard ratio [HR] per 5-year increment, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.16-1.54; P < .001), male sex (HR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.19-3.45; P = .01), a history of myocardial infarction (HR, 3.54; 95% CI, 1.33-9.42; P = .01), and a history of congestive heart failure (HR, 3.33; 95% CI, 1.10-10.09; P = .03) were each independently associated with AV block. Two modifiable risk factors were also independently associated with AV block. Every 10–mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure was associated with a 22% higher risk (HR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.10-1.34; P = .005), and every 20-mg/dL increase in fasting glucose level was associated with a 22% higher risk (HR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.08-1.35; P = .001). Both risk factors remained statistically significant (HR for systolic blood pressure, 1.26 [95% CI, 1.06-1.49; P = .007]; HR for glucose level, 1.22 [95% CI, 1.04-1.43; P = .01]) after adjustment for major adverse coronary events during the follow-up period. In population-attributable risk assessment, an estimated 47% (95% CI, 8%-67%) of AV blocks may have been avoided if all participants exhibited ideal blood pressure and 11% (95% CI, 2%-21%) may have been avoided if all had a normal fasting glucose level.

    Conclusions and Relevance  In this analysis of data from a population-based cohort study, suboptimal blood pressure and fasting glucose level were associated with AV block. These results suggest that a large proportion of AV blocks are assocated with these risk factors, even after adjusting for other major adverse coronary events.