Chronic kidney disease and risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure in general population-based cohorts: the BiomarCaRE project

Martin Rehm, Dietrich Rothenbacher (Lead / Corresponding author), Licia Iacoviello, Simona Costanzo, Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe, Catherine A. Fitton, Stefan Söderberg, Johan Hultdin, Veikko Salomaa, Pekka Jousilahti, Tarja Palosaari, Kari Kuulasmaa, Christoph Waldeyer, Renate B. Schnabel, Tanja Zeller, Stefan Blankenberg, Wolfgang Koenig, BiomarCaRE Consortium

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Aims: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) has a complicated relationship with the heart, leading to many adverse outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between CKD and the incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) and heart failure (HF) along with mortality as a competing risk in general population cohorts. We also included an assessment of baseline biomarkers of inflammation, myocardial injury, and left ventricular dysfunction with risk of AF and HF, respectively, to shed light on the potential underlying pathophysiology.

Methods and results: This study was conducted within the BiomarCaRE project using harmonized data from 12 European population-based cohorts (n = 48 518 participants). Renal function was assessed by glomerular filtration rate estimated using the combined Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation with standardized serum creatinine (Cr) and non-standardized serum cystatin C (CysC). Incidence of AF and HF respectively, during a median follow-up of 8 years was recorded. Cox proportional hazards models were used to determine hazard ratios (HRs) for the incidence of AF and HF in CKD and the competing risk of mortality after adjustment for covariates. The mean age at baseline was 51.4 (standard deviation 12.1) years, 49% were men. Overall, 4.3% of subjects had CKD at baseline. The rate for AF was 3.8 per 1000 person-years during follow-up. The HR for AF in patients with CKD compared with patients without CKD was 1.28 (95% confidence interval 1.07-1.54) after adjustment for covariates. The rate for incident HF was 4.1 per 1000 person-years and the HR of CKD for HF was 1.71 (95% confidence interval 1.45-2.01. In subjects with CKD, N-terminal-pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) showed an association with AF, whereas NT-proBNP and C-reactive protein were associated with HF.

Conclusions: Chronic kidney disease is an independent risk factor for subsequent AF and is even more closely associated with HF. In these relatively young participants with CKD, NT-proBNP was strongly associated with subsequent risk of AF. For HF, in addition, elevated levels of hs-C-reactive protein at baseline were related to incident events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalESC Heart Failure
Issue number1
Early online date26 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2022


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Biomarkers
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Cohort study
  • General population
  • Heart failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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