Association between atrial fibrillation and volumetric magnetic resonance imaging brain measures: Framingham Offspring Study

Ryan J. Piers, Arvind Nishtala, Sarah R. Preis, Charles DeCarli, Philip A. Wolf, Emelia J. Benjamin, Rhoda Au

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background The increased risk of stroke and cognitive impairment associated with atrial fibrillation (AF) is well documented. However, there is a paucity of research investigating the relations between AF and brain morphology. Objective The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between AF and brain volume measures on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Methods The study sample included stroke- and dementia-free participants who attended the Framingham Heart Study offspring cohort 7th examination cycle (1999–2005) and underwent contemporaneous MRI. We examined the association between prevalent AF and brain volume measures (total cerebral volume, frontal lobe volume, temporal lobe volume, temporal horn volume, hippocampal volume, and white matter hyperintensity volume) with linear regression. We first adjusted models for age and sex, and then for vascular risk factors and APOE4. Results We studied 2144 individuals (mean age 61.8 ± 9.3 years; 54% women); 73 participants (3.4%) had prevalent AF at the time of MRI. In age- and sex-adjusted models, AF was inversely associated with total cerebral brain volume, frontal brain volume, and temporal brain volume. After further adjustment for vascular risk factors and APOE4, AF remained associated with frontal brain volume. Conclusion After accounting for vascular risk factor burden, prevalent AF was associated with lobar indexes of vascular brain aging but not with expected white matter changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2020-2024
Number of pages5
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Brain volume
  • Framingham
  • Imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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