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Children Exposed To Secondhand Smoke at Higher Risk for Atrial Fibrillation

Children of parents who smoke had a significantly increased chance of developing atrial fibrillation later in life, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The findings highlight a new association between secondhand smoke exposure and heart rhythm disorder risk.

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common heart rhythm disorder. Cigarette smoking remains one of the top modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Smoking has been established as a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, with estimates that 7 percent of all AFib can be attributed to smoking.

The researchers found that 17 percent of the children of parents who smoke were more likely themselves to smoke, suggesting another way that parental smoking might predispose children to AFib in the long-term. Previous investigations have also confirmed that a smoking parent increases the likelihood of a child’s chance of smoking later in life.

“Although some of the relationship between parental smoking and offspring AFib was explained by offspring smoking themselves, the results of this study indicate that secondhand smoke exposure in childhood is a risk factor for future development of AFib,” said Alanna M. Chamberlain, Ph.D., MPH, an epidemiologist in the Department of Health Sciences Research at Mayo Clinic in an accompanying editorial comment.

For further information and study details: Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.07.060

Journal information: Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Provided by American College of Cardiology

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