Fighting fires comes with many risks. But new research shows there's a new one to consider: increased exposure to fires appears to raise the likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation, or AFib, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other problems.
Researchers found the more fires a firefighter fought, the higher the likelihood he or she would report having been diagnosed with AFib. The work will be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions, which begins Friday and is being held virtually. The research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. Lead researcher Dr. Catherine Vanchiere, an internal medicine resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, said she wasn't surprised to find a link because there was so much anecdotal evidence of "otherwise young, healthy patients who were firefighters coming in to see cardiologists."