Objective: Inflammation of the atria is an important factor in the pathogenesis of atrial fibrillation (AF). Whether the extent of atrial inflammation relates with clinical risk factors of AF, however, is largely unknown. This we have studied comparing patients with paroxysmal and long-standing persistent/permanent AF. Methods: Left atrial tissue was obtained from 50 AF patients (paroxysmal = 20, long-standing persistent/permanent = 30) that underwent a left atrial ablation procedure either or not in combination with coronary artery bypass grafting and/or valve surgery. Herein, the numbers of CD45+ and CD3+ inflammatory cells were quantified and correlated with the AF risk factors age, gender, diabetes, and blood CRP levels. Results: The numbers of CD45+ and CD3+ cells were significantly higher in the adipose tissue of the atria compared with the myocardium in all AF patients but did not differ between AF subtypes. The numbers of CD45+ and CD3+ cells did not relate significantly to gender or diabetes in any of the AF subtypes. However, the inflammatory infiltrates as well as CK-MB and CRP blood levels increased significantly with increasing age in long-standing persistent/permanent AF and a moderate positive correlation was found between the extent of atrial inflammation and the CRP blood levels in both AF subtypes. Conclusion: The extent of left atrial inflammation in AF patients was not related to the AF risk factors, diabetes and gender, but was associated with increasing age in patients with long-standing persistent/permanent AF. This may be indicative for a role of inflammation in the progression to long-standing persistent/permanent AF with increasing age. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
- Atrial fibrillation
- Risk factors