HealthDay News — Preterm birth and being large for gestational age (GA) at birth are associated with increased risks for atrial fibrillation (AF) up to middle age independently of familial factors, according to a study published online April 24 in JAMA Pediatrics.
Fen Yang, M.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues investigated whether preterm birth, small for GA, or large for GA are associated with increased risks for AF later in life. The analysis included more than 8 million live, singleton births in Denmark from 1978 through 2016, in Sweden from 1973 through 2014, and in Finland from 1987 through 2014, with follow-up through 2016, 2021, and 2014, respectively, in the three countries.
The researchers found that being preterm and large for GA were each associated with increased AF risk in both the full population cohort (hazard ratios, 1.30 and 1.55, respectively) and the sibling analyses. The association between preterm birth and AF was stronger in childhood than in adulthood. For small for GA, children had an increased risk for AF in the first 18 years of life but not afterwards.
“Preterm births and large for GA births were associated with increased risks of AF up to middle age independently of familial confounding factors,” the authors write. “Individuals born small for GA had an increased AF risk only during childhood.”