AF Association
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Hello everyone, hope you all are as well as you can be :-) A question for you, if I may?Any help would be well appreciated.

I was having a general browse yesterday and came across an article (then several more) about AF & A Flutter and the increased mortality associated with both of them. According to what I read the mortality rate is 'increased' if one suffers from either. The question is, are these mortality rates for those that have / are being successfully treated or is it referring to those without any treatment? Also, what are they talking about in terms of 'increased' - 5 years, 10 years ?

Questions sound a bit morbid eh? Would be good to know though. X

13 Replies

Oops - just read something that Cormia wrote, 6 months ago on a very similar theme. Sorry, just hadn't seen it before. Some great answers.


Hi! I haven't had much of a chance to browse community posts by the other fantastic members who are on here and I'm definitely not a medical professional, but I have taken note that it is difficult to sort out the information on the web.

I'm a graduate student at Arizona State University here in the U.S. and I have access to many professional journal articles, research studies, and books, etc. about AF. I have had AF that was undiagnosed since my 30s, finally received the proper diagnosis in my late 40s, and am currently receiving treatment for this blasted condition, lol.

I'm certain that some here will have different thoughts and views about mortality rates and such, but I just wanted to share that I think sometimes we minimize just how serious this condition can be. I have read that "AF can't kill you," and to some extent I would generally agree. Having said that, research is still ongoing as to whether people with AF are at greater risk of cardiac arrest brought on by AF which can result in death. I do think that those of is who are receiving treatment most likely have a lowered risk of death, but I take this condition very seriously.

My apologies for the length of this reply, but I wanted to share my thoughts with you. :)

Here is a link to a research study that I recently read. Again, I'm sure that there are other studies which contradict this one, but for me it seems that the scientific community is still working to understand AF and more research is needed. Best wishes! - KeL

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that's a useful article Givemkel but I was pleased to see this bit near the end ,"First, incident AF was identified mostly from hospitalization discharges in the ARIC Study and the CHS, and we could not include asymptomatic AF or AF managed exclusively in an outpatient setting. " which does suggest If one's symptoms are well controlled ( i e not needing hospital admission) the outlook might be better. Also the risk of stroke can obviously be substantially reduced through anti coagulation.

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Yes! I agree that diagnosis and effective treatment of AF seems like it would reduce mortality rates for those who have this condition! - KeL :)

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Kel; Interesting article. As a graduate student have you come upon any US centers using DE-MRI

machines to diagnose fibrosis to predict which Afib patients will benefit from an ablation? I know it is used at U. of Utah and in Thailand but here it seems to be used just in Research.

Heather R

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Hi, Heather!

I don't know of any centers here in the U.S. that are utilizing this technology yet, but I will do a database search to see what I can find! One of the perks of returning to college at my age is that I have free access to pretty much any credible source on just about any topic, lol! I am going to miss my "student" status after I graduate, haha! - KeL

I will definitely post to let you know if I find anything! :)


Thanks. on website we've been asking about this. Sorry that you have Afib at such a young age but in many ways that works in your favor.

Heather R

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You're very welcome, Heather! As soon as I get a free moment I will see what I can turn up.

The diagnosis came as somewhat of a shock, but I agree with what you said. Simply knowing I have AF is an important factor in reducing my risk of a serious Stroke! - KeL


Hi Froggy

I think the answer might be that the jury is still out and that more research is needed badly in this area, there are certainly some studies which appear to show an increased risk of SCD (sudden cardiac death) and also of course increased risk of stroke, and even other heart problems.

And there are some hospitals which would put a number on that, seems to vary between 5 and 8 years, but they do not really define the difference between well managed AF and perhaps not well managed. And there are certainly some studies which would disagree and well as those which would support.

And it's certainly true that undiagnosed and untreated AF is a cause for earlier mortality.

I agree with GivEmkeL this is a serious condition, and we should not be too flippant about the end results, in our defence and I understand what she says about us (me) saying AF will not usually kill you (and note I always put the usually) that is most often in response to a newly diagnosed person, who is scared that this is going to be immediately fatal. I suppose it's trying to find a balance between support and too much information at first, and maybe the balance is not yet correct.

So for me the answer is, we don't yet know, it probably does effect mortality, by how much? and interacting with what other factors? Not enough work done yet.

Be well



Great reply, Ian! I get where you are coming from when a person who is newly diagnosed with AF has a lot of anxiety and seeks to find some of the answers to their questions. The last thing you want to hear is that you could simply one day die from an episode of AF. Highly unlikely! And like you mentioned, one would assume that people who are getting effective treatment would more likely than not have very low risk of death due to SCD. I am always appreciative of your responses to questions! Many of your comments have helped me greatly! - KeL :)


Thank you Ian

As always, the voice of reassurance. I look forward to the results of more research. x


Hi Ian,

Certainly conflicting opinions among cardio's about SCD/SCA. I was given a booklet a few years ago, when I was having genetic testing to see if my AF and Dilated Cardiomyopathy were due to a "faulty gene", and the booklet mentioned about the increased risk of SCA. I mentioned it to my cardio at the time and he said that I was at no greater risk than anyone else. Although it does concern me a bit when my HR drops down to 38 to 40, resting. (normally 44/45 resting)

But then when I consider my young niece, of 41, presently going through chemo for metastatic breast cancer and one of my mates just diagnosed this week with lymphatic cancer, I then think that my AF isn't so bad. However I think I am one of the "fortunate ones" where my persistent/permanent AF doesn't restrict me too much as long as I don't overdo it.

Getting back to the SCD/SCA, I suppose this is where a ICD might be useful.

Had hopes to have attended the Patients day this year and get a chance to meet you and Bob but can't manage. Another time perhaps.

Keep well




Yes l received that information also and l researched it thoroughly myself and have further confirmation from reliable sources of its accuracy...

I live everyday to the full following Ablation six weeks ago....

My party joke when young was "l know we all have to die but somehow or other l believe l am going to be the exception"

But the years have mellowed me somewhat...and as Bob says....

"Live everyday as if it we're your last because one day it will be"

Take care.



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