Second Gene Identified That Increases Risk of Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke

July 16, 2009 5:54 AM CT

Two separate studies have independently identified new variants in the ZFHX3 gene that are associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation and stroke. This is the second gene to be identified with increased risk of atrial fibrillation and stroke.

At least one third of those of European descent carry one copy of the newly-discovered variant in the ZFHX3 gene and have a 20% increase in risk of afib and cardioembolic strokes. This variant was not found to confer increased risk in a population of Han Chinese from Hong Kong.

Both studies were just published in NatureGenetics. The first is from scientists at deCODE Genetics in Iceland and the second is from Dr. Emelia Benjamin of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study and her colleagues.

These findings will be integrated into deCODE’s DNA testing for identifying genetic risk of atrial fibrillation and stroke.

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