Atrial Fibrillation in Women—Statins Help, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Vitamin E Don’t

May 16, 2008 6:26 AM CT

Statins appear to lower the risk of atrial fibrillation in women who are post-menopausal and have existing heart disease says a new study presented at the Heart Rhythm Society’s 2008 annual meeting.

Most previous atrial fibrillation studies have focused on men, but we have learned that atrial fibrillation affects women differently—women have afib episodes more frequently and have worse complications, including bleeding and strokes.  

This four-year study of atrial fibrillation in women involved 2,700 postmenopausal women with existing heart disease. Those women taking statins had lower odds of having atrial fibrillation at the start of the study, and a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation by the end of the study. Statins not only reduce cholesterol but are also known to be anti-inflammatory; it’s this anti-inflammatory property that appeared to reduce the incidence of atrial fibrillation in women on statins.

Two other studies of atrial fibrillation in women presented at the Heart Rhythm Society annual meeting found no association between either consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids or vitamin E and atrial fibrillation in women.  

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