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Causal associations between COVID-19 and Atrial Fibrillation: A bidirectional Mendelian randomization study

By Xiaoyu Zhang, Biyan Wang, Di Liu, Jinxia Zhang, Qiuyue Tian, Xiaoni Meng, Jie Zhang, Haifeng Hou, Manshu Song, Wei Wang, Youxin Wang

Posted 14 Aug 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.13.20174417

Abstract Background Observational studies showed that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) attacks universally and its most menacing progression uniquely endangers the elderly with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Whether COVID-19 is causally related to increasing susceptibility and severity of atrial fibrillation (AF), the main form of CVD, remains still unknown. Methods The study aims to investigate the bidirectional causal relations of COVID-19 with AF using two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis. Results MR evidence suggested genetically predicted severe COVID-19 was significantly associated with higher risk of AF (odds ratio [OR], 1.041; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.007-1.076; P = 0.017), while genetically predicted AF was not causally associated with severe COVID-19 (OR, 0.831; 95% CI, 1.619-1.115; P=0.217). There was limited evidence to support association of genetically proxied COVID-19 with risk of AF (OR, 1.051; 95% CI, 0.991-1.114; P=0.097), and vice versa (OR, 0.163; 95% CI, 0.004-6.790; P=0.341). MR-Egger indicated no evidence of pleiotropic bias. Conclusion Overall, severe COVID-19 may causally affect AF through independent biological pathway. Survivors from severe COVID-19 might be of high risk of AF in the future. Key words Coronavirus disease 2019; Atrial Fibrillation; Bidirectional mendelian randomization

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