Genetic Basis of Early Onset Atrial Fibrillation in Patients without Risk Factors

Irina Rudaka (Coresponding Author), Baiba Vilne, Jekaterina Isakova, Oskars Kalejs, Linda Gailite, Dmitrijs Rots

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia and typically occurs in elderly patients with other cardiovascular and extracardiac diseases. However, up to 15% of AF develops without any related risk factors. Recently, the role of genetic factors has been highlighted in this particular form of AF. Aims: The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of pathogenic variants in early-onset AF in patients without known disease-related risk factors and to identify any structural cardiac abnormalities in these patients. Materials and Methods: We conducted exome sequencing and interpretation in 54 risk factor-free early-onset AF patients and further validated our findings in a similar AF patient cohort from the UK Biobank. Results: Pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants were found in 13/54 (24%) patients. The variants were identified in cardiomyopathy-related and not arrhythmia-related genes. The majority of the identified variants were TTN gene truncating variants (TTNtvs) (9/13 (69%) patients). We also observed two TTNtvs founder variants in the analysed population—c.13696C>T p.(Gln4566Ter) and c.82240C>T p.(Arg27414Ter). Pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants were found in 9/107 (8%) individuals from an independent similar AF patient cohort from the UK Biobank. In correspondence with our Latvian patients, only variants in cardiomyopathy-associated genes were identified. In five (38%) of the thirteen Latvian patients with pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants, dilation of one or both ventricles was identified on a follow-up cardiac magnetic resonance scan. Conclusions: We observed a high prevalence of pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants in cardiomyopathy-associated genes in patients with risk factor-free early-onset AF. Moreover, our follow-up imaging data indicate that these types of patients are at risk of developing ventricular dilation. Furthermore, we identified two TTNtvs founder variants in our Latvian study population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • early-onset atrial fibrillation
  • genetics
  • next-generation sequencing
  • pathogenic variants

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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