Sumary of Breast Cancer Diagnosis Linked to Higher Odds for Dangerous A-Fib:
- 16, 2021 — Women with breast cancer are known to have heart problems related to treatment, and now a new study shows their odds of developing an abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation (a-fib) may increase in the wake of a breast cancer diagnosis.
- Women who develop a-fib within a month of a breast cancer diagnosis are more likely to die from heart- or blood vessel-related problems within a year, the new research suggests.
- “Traditional risk factors such as age, cardiovascular risk factors remain risk factors for a-fib after a breast cancer diagnosis,” said study author Dr. Avirup Guha, an assistant professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
- But “surgery, chemotherapy, inflammation and imbalances in the body’s normal processes caused by the cancer may be implicated,” he said.
- Stress can also contribute to a-fib, and the emotional stress that often accompanies a new breast cancer diagnosis may play a role, but the researchers didn’t look at stress in this study.
- For the study, the researchers analyzed data on more than 85,000 women aged 66 or older who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2007 and 2014. These women, along with their cancer-free counterparts, were followed for one year to see who developed a-fib.
- The incidence of women with breast cancer who developed new-onset a-fib was 3.9%, and this risk peaked in the two months following their diagnosis.
- By contrast, just 1.8% of women without breast cancer developed a-fib during one year of follow-up.