Fibroblast Growth Factor-23 and Incident Atrial Fibrillation: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS)

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Fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23) is a hormone that promotes urinary phosphate excretion and regulates vitamin D metabolism. Circulating FGF-23 concentrations increase markedly in chronic kidney disease and are associated with increased risk of clinical cardiovascular events. FGF-23 may promote atrial fibrillation (AF) by inducing left ventricular hypertrophy and diastolic and left atrial dysfunction.

Methods and Results—

We tested the associations of circulating FGF-23 concentration with incident AF among 6398 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and 1350 participants in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), all free of clinical cardiovascular disease at baseline. Over a median of 7.7 and 8.0 years of follow-up, we observed 291 and 229 incident AF events in MESA and CHS, respectively. In multivariable Cox proportional hazards models, each 2-fold-higher FGF-23 concentration was associated with a 41% higher risk of incident AF in MESA (hazard ratio, 1.41; 95% confidence interval, 1.13–1.76; P=0.003) and a 30% higher risk of incident AF in CHS (hazard ratio, 1.30; 95% confidence interval, 1.05–1.61; P=0.016) after adjustment for potential confounding characteristics, including kidney disease. Serum phosphate concentration was significantly associated with incident AF in MESA (hazard ratio, 1.15 per 0.5 mg/dL; 95% confidence interval, 1.02–1.31; P=0.023) but not CHS. In MESA, an association of low estimated glomerular filtration rate with incident AF was partially attenuated by adjustment for FGF-23.


Higher circulating FGF-23 concentration is associated with incident AF and may, in part, explain the link between chronic kidney disease and AF.

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