A risk score for atrial fibrillation (AF) has been developed by the Framingham Heart Study; however, the applicability of this risk score, derived using data from white patients, to predict new-onset AF in nonwhites is uncertain. Therefore, we developed a 10-year risk score for new-onset AF from risk factors commonly measured in clinical practice using 14,546 subjects from the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities (ARIC) study, a prospective community-based cohort of blacks and whites in the United States. During 10 years of follow-up, 515 incident AF events occurred. The following variables were included in the AF risk score: age, race, height, smoking status, systolic blood pressure, hypertension medication use, precordial murmur, left ventricular hypertrophy, left atrial enlargement, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and heart failure. The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC) of a Cox regression model that included the previous variables was 0.78, suggesting moderately good discrimination. The point-based score developed from the coefficients in the Cox model had an AUC of 0.76. This clinical risk score for AF in the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities cohort compared favorably with the Framingham Heart Study's AF (AUC 0.68), coronary heart disease (CHD) (AUC 0.63), and hard CHD (AUC 0.59) risk scores and the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities CHD risk score (AUC 0.58). In conclusion, we have developed a risk score for AF and have shown that the different pathophysiologies of AF and CHD limit the usefulness of a CHD risk score in identifying subjects at greater risk of AF.
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