SOURCE: Ozcan OU, et al. Relation of vitamin D deficiency and new-onset atrial fibrillation among hypertensive patients. J Am Soc Hypertens 2015;9:307-312.

If you have been practicing medicine for 5 years or longer, you probably have already been assailed by literature from all compartments of medicine claiming that low levels of vitamin D are associated with almost anything bad that can happen to almost anyone. Just in case your dossier of hypovitaminosis D crimes is insufficiently full, you might consider adding “New Onset Atrial Fibrillation” to the rap sheet.

Ozcan et al evaluated 227 hypertensive patients, among whom 137 had new onset atrial fibrillation (AFIB). When they compared the levels of vitamin D in persons with new onset AFIB to controls (the hypertensive patients who didn’t have AFIB), they found that low vitamin D levels (< 20 ng/mL) were essentially twice as common in the AFIB group (67% vs 33%). The odds ratio for incurring AFIB was almost 70% greater for patients with low vitamin D levels than vitamin D-replete individuals.

Explanations for how vitamin D might be related to AFIB include the observation that activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system is heightened in vitamin D deficiency states. Whether vitamin D supplementation would result in reduced incidence of AFIB has not yet been determined.