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Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Atrial Fibrillation

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Gregory Marcus, M.D., M.A.S.
Award Cycle: 2018 (Cycle 27) Grant #: 27IR-0027 Award: $903,503
Subject Area: Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease
Award Type: High Impact Research Project Award

Initial Award Abstract

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disturbance in the world. It is associated with poor quality of life and increased risk of stroke and death. Evidence from large studies following people over time suggest that those who smoke cigarettes are at a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation. We have preliminary data that secondhand smoke exposure while in utero (developing as a fetus while still in the mother’s uterus) and while as a young child may lead to atrial fibrillation later in life. The current study has three aims to better understand these relationships. The overarching goal is to simultaneously inform regulation regarding tobacco smoke while elucidating how a modifiable exposure might influence new-onset and recurrent atrial fibrillation. First, we will study two cohorts, each with data directly obtained from parents and their offspring to determine if indeed tobacco smoke exposure while in utero or as a young child leads to atrial fibrillation later in life. Second, we will study a smoking ban in public places in New York City to determine if such regulations lead to less healthcare utilization due to atrial fibrillation. Third, by fitting smokers who have intermittent episodes of atrial fibrillation with both an adhesive patch that continuously monitors the heart’s rhythm and a Bluetooth enabled cigarette lighter that enables precise timing of smoking episodes, we will determine if smoking acutely increases the risk of an atrial fibrillation event.