Atrial fibrillation is a common heart arrhythmia that increases the risk of strokes. Researchers have recently noted that A fib is also associated with a higher likelihood of developing dementia. The underlying triggers of atrial fibrillation have been somewhat mysterious. Heart attacks, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and defects in the heart or its valves may all contribute. Now researchers have found that people taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are at increased risk of developing A fib. These are drugs such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen and diclofenac. The investigators aren’t sure whether the drugs are causing the arrhythmia, or whether underlying inflammation causes both atrial fibrillation and pain that requires treatment.
[Archives of Internal Medicine, online, Sept. 13, 2010]