Emerging Directions in the Genetics of Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia and is associated with increased morbidity. As the population ages and the prevalence of AF continues to rise, the socioeconomic consequences of AF will become increasingly burdensome. Although there are well-defined clinical risk factors for AF, a significant heritable component is also recognized. To identify the molecular basis for the heritability of AF, investigators have used a combination of classical Mendelian genetics, candidate gene screening, and genome-wide association studies. However, these avenues have, as yet, failed to define the majority of the heritability of AF. The goal of this review is to describe the results from both candidate gene and genome-wide studies, as well as to outline potential future avenues for creating a more complete understanding of AF genetics. Ultimately, a more comprehensive view of the genetic underpinnings for AF will lead to the identification of novel molecular pathways and improved risk prediction of this complex arrhythmia.
- Received December 14, 2013.
- Revision received March 3, 2014.
- Accepted March 17, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.