Improved therapies for atrial fibrillation on the horizon

June 7, 2004

Approximately 2.5 million people in the U.S. have atrial fibrillation (AF), and more than 10% are older than 80 years old, said Kevin Donahue, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. AF increases the risk of stroke 5-fold and is responsible for 15% to 20% of strokes every year, he said. AF also increases the risk of congestive heart failure: among those with congestive heart failure, 10% to 30% have AF, he continued. "There is a tremendous need for innovative approaches to the treatment of this life-threatening condition," Donahue concluded. Donahue spoke about new research in AF at a recent American Medical Association media briefing held in New York City. Funding for the event was provided by an unrestricted educational grant from Johnson & Johnson.