The main topics are improvements in understanding of mechanisms of atrial fibrillation and atrial cardiomyopathy, development of tools for the clinical classification of AF and therapeutic approaches to prevent progression of AF an atrial cardiomyopathy and its complications.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) commonly progresses from paroxysmal AF (PAF) to permanent AF and this progression is associated with major cardiovascular/cerebral complications. Cardiovascular risk factors and comorbidities are present long before the first AF episode, causing a progressive atrial cardiomyopathy (ACM). The mechanisms of ACM vary between patients hindering effective AF management. Late initiation of CVR management and AF itself hampers current AF therapy. Researchers of our working group have addressed the pathophysiological mechanisms of AF progression including the innovative role of hypercoagulability and developed an AF progression risk score which includes ACM, sex, mitral valve regurgitation, waist circumference, and blood biomarkers associated with coagulation, stretch, cholesterol metabolism, and inflammation. The showed important differences between men and women in AF progression rates and demonstrated that PAF is not one entity but comprises different patterns, associated with different CVR, outcomes, and progression rates.

Future work of the network will be focused on unravelling the diversity of mechanisms underlying ACM, identify simple diagnostic tools to identify them, and develop a therapeutic approach to prevent ACM progression.

The work in this working group will be inspired by the DHS networks RACE V and EmbRACE but is meant as a platformforf the entire Dutch AF community. To achieve this goal the working group will work on grant applications in the Netherlands but also on the European level which includes members from RACE V, EmbRACE but also from outside these consortia. The goal is to reinforce the international embedding of the Dutch AF community in the European context.

Isabelle van Gelder en Uli Schotten


Michiel Rienstra, Jordi Heijman, Bas Boukens, Hester den Ruijter, Joris de Groot, Rik Vullings, Hugo ten Cate, Geert-Jan Geersing, Henri Spronk, Monika Stoll, Sander Verheule, Daniel Pijnappels, Vincent Christoffels, Stef Zeemering, Ron Pisters, Rudolph de Boer, Robert Tieleman en Dominik Linz


  1. Provide a national platform for AF research with tight embedding in international collaborations.


  1. Regular meeting in the context of the RACE V consortium at HHH, 1 per year.

Achieved goals:

  1. Received funding for the AF consortia RACE V and EmbRACE as cristallisation core for a national AF research platform.
  2. Multiple pathophysiological and clinical insights based on the RACE V results.

Plans next 3 years


  • Building a national AF research platform also beyond RACE V and EmbRACE.

Planned activities:

  • Build up a formal structure of a Dutch AF research environment.
  • Support grant acquisition activities in association with RACE V and EmbRACE.
  • Link the platform to EU networks (CATCH ME, MAESTRIA, EHRA-PATHs).

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