In this issue we feature the afib journey of Suzi E. She experienced her first episode in February 2006 and her last 4 years later. Suziís story is a remarkable one and clearly shows the huge impact of unrelenting stress on the initiation and continuation of AF. One of our early LAF surveys found that 26% of respondents attributed their first episode to emotional or work-related stress. Subsequent episodes were deemed to be stress-related in 50% of cases. Suziís story also illustrates the long-term effects of growing up in a dysfunctional home. LAF Survey IV revealed that 25% of the 104 respondents had been brought up in a dysfunctional family environment. These afibbers were more likely to be women, more likely to smoke, have a bowel disorder, have been on valium, and have a high C-reactive protein level. Quite a legacy!
Is there any rational explanation for the connection between AF and a dysfunctional childhood? Yes indeed, at least two studies have found that frequent stressful conditions in childhood, resulting in elevated cortisol levels, may contribute to low levels in adulthood, and that these low cortisol levels may make one hypersensitive to stress and thus a good candidate for AF.
Also in this issue we report that post-ablation arrhythmia recurrence is strongly related to elevated levels of BNP (brain natriuretic peptide),
and is not affected long-term by antiarrhythmic therapy during the fist six weeks following the ablation. Lone afibbers have elevated levels of parathyroid hormone,
warfarin induces calcification of coronary arteries, and researchers in Iceland confirm that AF has reached epidemic proportions and is set to overwhelm health care systems by 2050.