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Faye Spencer, Boise, ID, April 2017

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Baltimore, MD

Doctors & patients are saying about 'Beat Your A-Fib'...

"If I had [your book] 10 years ago, it would have saved me 8 years of hell.”

Roy Salmon, Patient, A-Fib Free,
Adelaide, Australia

"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su,
Cavanaugh Heart Center, 
Phoenix, AZ

"...masterful. You managed to combine an encyclopedic compilation of information with the simplicity of presentation that enhances the delivery of the information to the reader. This is not an easy thing to do, but you have been very, very successful at it."

Ira David Levin, heart patient, 
Rome, Italy

"Within the pages of Beat Your A-Fib, Dr. Steve Ryan, PhD, provides a comprehensive guide for persons seeking to find a cure for their Atrial Fibrillation."

Walter Kerwin, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

Inherited A-Fib? Is it More Risky for Family Members?

Many A-Fib patients wonder if they will pass their Atrial Fibrillation on to their offspring. Called Familial A-Fib, your first-degree family members are at higher risk of developing A-Fib.

A-Fib accounts for one-third of all strokes in patients above the age of 65 and is also associated with an increased mortality.

Several studies have shown an association of genetic variants with A-Fib and indicated that Familial A-Fib increases the risk of developing A-Fib. Familial A-Fib may account for as many as 20% of A-Fib patients.

But there is good news. A Danish registry study found that a diagnosis of Familial A-Fib carries no greater risk of death and stroke than in the general Atrial Fibrillation population.

The Danish Familial A-Fib Study

The study from Danish nationwide registry data included 8,658 patients diagnosed with A-Fib from 1995 through 2012 with both parents known, matched 1:1 for familial A-Fib status as well as age, year of A-Fib diagnosis, and sex.

Familial A-Fib is more common in men than women and with median age of 50.

Study Findings: Compared with the entire A-Fib registry population, the familial A-Fib patients were less likely to be female (21% women versus the overall registry’s 47% women) and were younger at diagnosis (median age 50 vs 77).

An element to be taken into account is that families with long life expectancy, for any reason, may be at higher risk for familial A-Fib due to the longevity of relatives.

What Patients Need to Know

We have heard of many fathers and sons and sets of brothers with A-Fib as well as three-generations with A-Fib.

If you have Atrial Fibrillation, your first-degree family members (parents, siblings, offspring) may have Atrial Fibrillation and not know it. They may have ‘silent A-Fib’ with no or few apparent symptoms but with an increased risk of stroke.

Encourage family members to discuss Familial A-Fib with their doctors.

Be your family’s health advocate. Encourage family members to discuss Familial A-Fib with their doctors. A-Fib is usually easy to detect by taking your pulse and/or by an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). Early detection and treatment may avoid early health complications and prevent a cardiovascular event (i.e. A-Fib-related stroke).

For more about Familial A-Fib, see FAQs: Can I Prevent Familial A-Fib with Diet? Supplements?

A-Fib Personal Story on A-Fib.comDoes A-Fib Run in Your Family? 

Would you share your A-Fib story with our readers? We would love to hear from you. Our Personal Experiences stories are one of the most visited areas of Email me and tell me your story. (Or, read how to write and submit your A-Fib story.)

Resources for this article
Phend, C.  Afib in the family not riskier for outcomes death, thromboembolism rates similar to cases with no family history. Cardiology/MedPage Today. November 29, 2016.

Kirchhof P, et al. 2016 ESC guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation developed in collaboration with EACTS: the Task Force for the management of atrial fibrillation of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Eur Heart J. 2016. URL: Accessed November 18, 2016.

Gundlund A, et al “Outcomes associated with familial versus nonfamilial atrial fibrillation: A matched nationwide cohort study” J Am Heart Assoc 2016; DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.116.003836,

Fauchier L, et al “Prognosis in familial atrial fibrillation” J Am Heart Assoc. 2016; DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.116.004905

Jurkko R, et al. Characteristics of atrial fibrillation and comorbidities in familial atrial fibrillation. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol.2013;24:768–774. URL:

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