Dose-dependent Link between Smoking and Abnormal Heart Rhythm Risk

Medical literature reiterating the health benefits of smoking, a fatal addictive disorder, are abundant. They have unequivocally stressed on the loss of life years for lifetime smokers due to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, with increased probability of dying being the key impact. However, there is a dearth of epidemiological studies assessing the dose-response relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked per day or the pack-years and the risks of stroke and heart failure. Such risks are particularly characterized by atrial fibrillation, a condition of abnormal heart rhythm which is found prevalent in middle-aged populations of the U.S. and Europe.

A recent meta-analysis of several prospective studies (29 of them) from across four regions, namely, North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia aims to shed ample light on the affect the increasing number of cigarettes smoked has on the risk of atrial fibrillation. The results establish a strong positive correlation. Of note, the researchers found that every ten pack-years of smoking led to an increase of 16% of developing atrial fibrillation.

Linear Dose-Response Relationship Observed between Tobacco Smoking and Atrial Fibrillation

The results of the study were published on July 11, 2018 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The meta-analysis of the prospective studies found a 14% increase in the risk of the condition for an individual who smoke 10 cigarettes in a day. The increase of risk for developing the condition was compared to the one who smoked no cigarette per day, and the statistics are: smoking 10, 15, 20, 25, and 29 cigarettes per day led to an increase in risk by 17%, 25%, 32%, 39%, and 45% respectively. The study assessing the health condition of 677,785 participants and found 39,282 incident cases of atrial fibrillation. The statistics establishes well the linear dose-response relationship.

Studies Reiterate Copious Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking

The study found that there was substantial reduction of risk for developing the atrial fibrillation for the one who quit smoking. Compared to individuals who had never smoked, current smokers witnessed a 32% increase in risk. According to one of the researchers, the results of the study are helpful for devising public health strategies for the prevention of atrial fibrillation and other chronic diseases.

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