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Increased Risk of Atrial Fibrillation for Multiple Myeloma Patients
Posted: Jun 17, 2021
Increased Risk of Atrial Fibrillation for Multiple Myeloma Patients image

There's additional risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AF) for patients with certain types of cancers including multiple myeloma, according to Korean researchers who recently published study results in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 

The study enrolled 816,811 patients who were diagnosed with multiple cancer types from the Korean National Health Insurance Service database between 2009 and 2016. New cases of atrial fibrillation was diagnosed in 25,356 of the cancer patients. Multiple myeloma patients over the age of 35 showed the highest incidence of AF and stomach cancer patients had the lowest incidence of AF. 

The study was led by Dr. Yun Jun-pil of the Department of Internal Medicine at Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH). All blood cancers (myeloma, lymphoma, and leukemia) showed an increase of AF development. Of the solid tumor cancers, lung cancer patients over the age of 50 were associated with the highest risk for AF. 

(Credit: The Journal of American College of Cardiology)
(Photo: The Journal of American College of Cardiology)

While other factors for individuals without cancer contribute to AF (older age, DM, hypertension, CKD, obesity, and smoking), cancer patients without these factors still had higher rates of AF. Study researchers said: 

“Considering the high risk of AF in patients with hematologic malignancies, intrathoracic malignancies, and central nervous system (CNS) tumor, physicians may have to consider more intensive screening. However, we could not clarify whether routine screening can improve the outcomes and optimal management strategies.”


Myeloma patients may want to ask their doctor to watch for atrial fibrillation after their diagnosis. Yun said more study will be needed to predict for AF, especially for those with blood cancers. Yun also suggested that doctors caring for blood cancer patients be alerted to the additional risk, so take the time to share this important information with your physician. 



The author Jennifer Ahlstrom

about the author
Jennifer Ahlstrom

Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of HealthTree Foundation (formerly Myeloma Crowd). 

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