Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia requiring medical treatment and has been associated with enhanced atrial fibrosis and heart failure (HF). Relaxin (RLX), an antifibrosis and antiinflammatory peptide hormone, may be used to evaluate atrial fibrosis and is associated with HF occurrence in AF. We aimed to clarify the clinical significance of RLX level in patients with AF.
We measured circulating levels of RLX and other fibrosis-related factors in 311 patients with sinus rhythm (SR; n = 116) or AF (n = 195). All discharged AF patients were followed up for the occurrence of HF for a mean of 6 months.
Circulating levels of RLX were significantly different in patients with AF as compared with SR (P < 0.001), and in the subgroup analysis of AF. RLX level was correlated with left atrial diameter (LAD; R = 0.358, P < 0.001). Among followed up AF patients, on Kaplan–Meier curve analysis, patients with the third RLX tertile (T3) had a significantly higher HF rate than those with the 1st tertile (T1) (P = 0.002) and the cut-off value was 294.8 ng/L (area under the ROC curve [AUC] = 0.723). On multivariable analysis, HF occurrence with AF was associated with increased tertile of serum RLX level (odds ratio [OR] 2.659; confidence interval [95% CI] 1.434–4.930; P = 0.002).
RLX is associated with fibrosis-related biomarkers and significantly elevated in AF. RLX was related to the HF occurrence in patients with AF.