Biomarkers and Risk Stratification in Atrial Fibrillation
Advances in our understanding of pathological mechanisms can inform the identification of various biomarkers for risk stratification, monitoring drug efficacy and toxicity; and enabling careful monitoring of polypharmacy. Biomarkers in the broadest sense refer to 'biological markers' and this can be blood-based (eg. fibrin D-dimer, von Willebrand factor, etc) urine-based (eg. thromboxane), or even related to cardiac or cerebral imaging1. Most biomarkers offer improvements over clinical risk scores in predicting high risk patients - at least statistically - but usually at the loss of simplicity and practicality for easy application in everyday clinical practice. Given the various biomarkers can be informed by different aspects of pathophysiology (e.g. inflammation, clotting, collagen turnover) they can nevertheless contribute to a better understanding of underlying disease processes2. Indeed, many age-related diseases share common modifiable underpinning mechanisms e.g. inflammation, oxidative stress and visceral adiposity.
- Received September 22, 2014.
- Revision received October 2, 2014.
- Accepted October 3, 2014.