Biomarkers in atrial fibrillation: investigating biologic plausibility, cause, and effect.
Atrial fibrillation, an increasingly common arrhythmia whose prevalence will reach epidemic proportions over the next two decades, is characterized by atrial/atrial appendage inflammation, fibrosis, remodeling, and endocardial thrombosis. Biomarkers measured within the peripheral circulation reflect these pathobiologic events with evidence of heightened thrombin generation and activity, platelet activity, fibrin formation, endocardial injury, inflammatory mediator release, and reduced fibrinolytic potential Unfortunately, the correlation between traditional biomarkers and clinical events is weak at best, as is their ability to predict successful treatment (prevention of cardioembolism) with antithrombotic agents. Future efforts devoted to the investigation of cellular biomarkers will likely provide greater practical yield and insights concerning the development, diagnosis, prognosis, and management of atrial fibrillation.
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