Weight Reduction Lowers Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christopher X Wong MBBS MSc PhD
Clinical Research Fellow | Clinical Trial Service Unit, Oxford
Clinical Senior Lecturer | Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders, Adelaide
Clinical Trial Service Unit, University of Oxford
Roosevelt Drive, Oxford

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Wong: Atrial fibrillation is an increasingly common heart rhythm disorder. This study demonstrates that even small increments in obesity are associated with a significantly increased risk of atrial fibrillation. Our data suggest that for every 1 unit reduction in body mass index there may be a 3-5% reduction in atrial fibrillation; for every 5 unit reduction, there may be 10-29% reductions. It should also be noted that this is likely to be a significant underestimate of the effect of weight reduction on atrial fibrillation rates as weight control has favourable effects on other risk factors for atrial fibrillation, such as hypertension and diabetes. Given the more than 45 million people with atrial fibrillation worldwide, even small but widespread reductions in obesity would thus help contain this ‘epidemic’ of atrial fibrillation.


Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Wong: While atrial fibrillation is commonly viewed as only an ‘electrical problem’ of the heart, our data support the growing body of evidence that suggests these electrical problems can be fueled by potentially modifiable risk factors such as obesity. One take home-message for patients is that a lower risk of developing heart rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation can be added to the list of health benefits from weight reduction. Another important implication from our analysis, however, is that weight reduction in patients who already have established atrial fibrillation is also likely to be beneficial. Thus, early diagnosis, weight reduction, and other risk factor modification in patients with established atrial fibrillation is also an important message.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Wong: Given the burgeoning ‘epidemic’ of atrial fibrillation, future research should further investigate the effects of different weight reduction strategies on the development and recurrence of atrial fibrillation.

Citation:

Obesity and the Risk of Incident, Post-Operative, and Post-Ablation Atrial Fibrillation: A Meta-Analysis of 626,603 Individuals in 51 Studies

Christopher X. Wong, MBBS, MSc; Thomas Sullivan, BMa&CompSci(Hons); Michelle T. Sun, MBBS; Rajiv Mahajan, MD, PhD; Rajeev K. Pathak, MBBS; Melissa Middeldorp; Darragh Twomey, MBBS; Anand N. Ganesan, MBBS, PhD; Geetanjali Rangnekar, BSc; Kurt C. Roberts-Thomson, MBBS, PhD; Dennis H. Lau, MBBS, PhD; Prashanthan Sanders, MBBS, PhD
JACCCEP. 2015,(): doi:10.1016/j.jacep.2015.04.004

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MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christopher X Wong MBBS MSc PhD, Clinical Research Fellow | Clinical Trial Service Unit, Oxford, Clinical Senior Lecturer | Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders, Adelaide, Clinical Trial Service Unit, University of Oxford, & Roosevelt Drive, Oxford (2015). Weight Reduction Lowers Risk of Atrial Fibrillation MedicalResearch.com

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