Atrial fibrillation in heart failure patients: Prevalence in daily practice and effect on the severity of symptoms. Data from the ALPHA study registry

Gaetano M. De Ferrari, Catherine Klersy, Paolo Ferrero, Cecilia Fantoni, Diego Salerno-Uriarte, Lorenzo Manca, Paolo Devecchi, Giulio Molon, Miriam Revera, Antonio Curnis, Simona Sarzi Braga, Francesco Accardi, Jorge A. Salerno-Uriarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Estimates of the prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in heart failure (HF) originate from patients enrolled in clinical trials. Aims: To assess the prevalence and clinical correlates of AF among HF patients in everyday clinical practice from HF patients screened for the T-wave ALternans in Patients with Heart fAilure (ALPHA) study; to investigate the correlation between AF and functional status. Methods and results: Consecutive patients (N = 3513) seen at nine Heart Failure Clinics were studied; 21.4% were in AF. AF prevalence was greater with increasing age (OR 1.04/year, p <0.001) in non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy (OR 2.34, p <0.001) and with increasing NYHA class (p <0.0001). Multiple logistic regression predictors of AF were age > 70 years (OR 2.35), NYHA class II III or IV vs class I (OR 1.8, 4.4 and 3.1) and non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy (OR 3.2). A logistic model indicated that AF was associated with a 2.5 OR of being in NYHA class III-IV vs I-II while accounting for age, gender, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), and aetiology of HF. Conclusions: The prevalence of AF in HF patients exceeds 20%, and increases with age and functional class. The presence of AF leads to a more severe NYHA class, indicating that AF contributes to the severity of heart failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-509
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Heart Failure
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2007



  • Arrhythmia
  • Atrial flutter
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Epidemiology
  • Fibrillation
  • Heart failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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