Smoking Linked to Arrhythmia Recurrence in Women Only

Female smokers undergoing cardioversion for atrial flutter had more recurrent atrial arrhythmia
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking may be associated with a greater risk of atrial arrhythmia recurrence in women following cardioversion, and a higher risk of death in men, according to research published in the Sept. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Masayoshi Kinoshita, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues analyzed data from 1,424 patients undergoing cardioversion for atrial flutter over a six-year period. The mean age was 70 years, and 64 percent of the subjects were men.

Among women, the researchers found that current smokers were more likely to have recurrent atrial arrhythmia (hazard ratio, 1.71). Women's arrhythmia recurrence rate at one year was 58 percent in nonsmokers and 76 percent in current smokers. This association wasn't seen in male smokers. However, among men, current smokers had a higher risk of death after cardioversion (hazard ratio, 1.93).

"Several factors could account for the disparate results we found among men and women. First, an association between atrial arrhythmia recurrence and smoking might not have been seen in men because the men who smoked were more likely to die; thus, their death might have precluded documented atrial arrhythmia recurrence. Also, the men in our patient group were more likely than women to have coronary artery disease and, thus, they were at a greater risk of recurrent infarction and ventricular arrhythmias in association with cigarette use," the authors write.

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