Study Looks at Obesity and AFib Risk

Increases in body mass index (BMI) may significantly raise the risk of incident, post-operative and post-ablation atrial fibrillation (AFib) according to a recent study published in JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology. The researchers, led by Christopher X. Wong, MBBS, MSc, from the Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute at the University of Adelaide and the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Adelaide, Australia, examined data from 51 studies including 626,603 participants. Overall results found that for every five unit increase in BMI, there was a 19-29 percent greater risk of developing AFib; a 10 percent greater excess risk of post-operative AFib; and a 13 percent greater excess risk of recurrent AFib post-ablation. "The results of this study show that even moderate reductions in population BMI potentially could significantly reduce the burden of AFib," said Craig T. January, MD, PhD, writing committee chair of the 2014 AHA/ACC/HRS Guideline for the Management of Patients With AFib. "A decrease in obesity would also lower rates of conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, which are also risk factors for AFib and would therefore have a greater impact on reducing this condition." Read more. Check out the most recent issue of JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.