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Atrial fib in elderly women tied to higher von Willebrand factor. (Same Result Not Seen in Men).

BERLIN -- Atrial fibrillation is independently associated with elevated plasma levels of von Willebrand factor in elderly women but not men with the arrhythmia, Dr. Dwayne S.G. Conway reported at the 24th Congress of the European Society of Cardiology.

This new observation may help in understanding the mechanism by which older women who have atrial fibrillation face such a high risk of having a stroke.

Elevated von Willebrand factor is known to be associated with endothelial damage and dysfunction, said Dr. Conway of Cardiff (Wales) University.

He reported on 486 elderly participants in the Rotterdam Study. Of those, 162 had atrial fibrillation. The other 324 were age- and gender-matched paired control subjects.

The mean plasma von Willebrand factor level in women with atrial fibrillation was 146 U/dL, compared with 136 U/dL in women without the arrhythmia.

Levels in men averaged 141-142 U/dL regardless of whether they had atrial fibrillation.

After researchers adjusted for potential confounding risk factors, those women in the top quartile for von Willebrand factor levels were at fivefold greater risk of having atrial fibrillation than were those women in the lowest quartile.

There were no differences among either men or women with or without atrial fibrillation in levels of plasma fibrinogen or soluble P-selectin, which is a marker of platelet activation, said Dr. Conway.
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Publication:Internal Medicine News
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Oct 15, 2002
Words:220
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