Research highlight

Variants associated with irregular heartbeat

Nature Genetics

February 22, 2010

A genetic variant associated with increased risk for a specific type of arterial fibrillation is reported this week in Nature Genetics.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia and affects approximately seven million people in the US and Europe. Risk factors for typical AF include age, gender, obesity, high blood pressure and heart failure. However, a fraction of AF cases, referred to as lone AF, show no clear instigating factors and appear in younger individuals.

Patrick Ellinor and colleagues scanned the genomes of 1,335 patients with lone AF, with age of onset below 66 years and no history of previous heart failure. The scientists report a genetic association of lone AF to a variant on chromosome 1q21, within the gene KCNN3.

doi: 10.1038/ng.537

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