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Vollmar, Claudia; Vollmar, Andrea; Keene, Bruce W.; Fox, Philip R.; Reese, Sven ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4605-9791 and Kohn, Barbara (16. May 2019): Irish Wolfhounds with Subclinical Atrial Fibrillation: Progression of Disease and Causes of Death. In: Journal of Veterinary Cardiology

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Objectives To evaluate the frequency of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and cardiac death (CD) in Irish wolfhounds (IW) with subclinical atrial fibrillation (AF), and to compare cardiac and all-cause mortality to those of a contemporaneous control group of apparently healthy IW with sinus rhythm.

Animals Fifty-two IW with AF, but without echocardiographic evidence of DCM or other cardiac disease, and an age- and gender- matched control cohort of 52 apparently healthy IW.

Methods Data from 1552 IW were retrospectively evaluated. Fifty-two dogs with subclinical AF were compared to 52 IW controls. Time from initial diagnosis to development of DCM was recorded, and survival data were analyzed using cumulative incidence functions.

Results 26/52 AF dogs developed DCM. At study end, in the AF and control group each, 49/52 AF dogs had died, 3 remained alive. Death in the AF cohort was attributed to CD in 22/49 dogs (12 CHF, 10 sudden cardiac deaths, SCD), while 27 dogs died from non-CD. In the control group significantly fewer dogs developed DCM (11/52 dogs, p=0.004), even fewer died from CD (5/49; 3 CHF, 2 SCD; p=0.001). The odd-ratios (95% CI) for dogs with AF versus controls to develop DCM was 3.7 (1.6, 8.8) and to die from CD was 7.2 (2.4, 21.2). Median all-cause survival for AF IWs (CD, 36.3 months; non-CD, 33.2 months) did not differ significantly from the control group (CD, 28.6 months, p=0.377; non-CD, 45.3 months, p=0.631).

Conclusion IW with subclinical AF commonly develop DCM and die from cardiac death.

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