Opioid use may up atrial fibrillation risk by 34%

New research has potentially tied opioid use to an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation.

The research will be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago, Nov. 10 to Nov. 12.

Researchers examined the medical records, including opioid prescriptions, of more than 857,000 veterans, ages 25 to 51 years.

Of the 857,000 veterans, 3,033 had a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation. Among individuals with atrial fibrillation, nearly 29 percent had taken opioids as compared to 15 percent who had taken opioids from the group that wasn't diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

Researchers found that opioid use increases the likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation by 34 percent.

"Opioid use, by itself, must be taken seriously and efforts should be made not only to reduce opioid abuse and overdoses but to ensure patients are being prescribed opioids only when absolutely necessary," said Jonathan Stock, MD, a resident physician at Yale New Haven (Conn.) Hospital and lead investigator for the study.


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