July 17, 2019
2 min read

Weight gain confers raised odds of AF

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Excessive weight gain may be associated with risk for atrial fibrillation, according to findings published in Heart.

But although there may be an association between weight gain and AF incidence, there are inconclusive data on whether nonsurgical weight loss may decrease odds for AF.

Nicholas R. Jones, MBBS, MClinEd, FHEA, and colleagues examined the association between weight change regardless of baseline weight and AF incidence.

“The prevalence of AF is rising and anticipated to double in Europe before 2060 due to an aging population and increased prevalence of established risk factors including obesity, hypertension, diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea,” Jones, a general practitioner and Wellcome Trust doctoral research fellow in primary care at the University of Oxford, Nuffield Department of Primary Care in the United Kingdom, and colleagues wrote. “Three systematic reviews have demonstrated that obesity is associated with an increased risk of incident AF.”

The meta-analysis consisted of data from various databases up to July 2018. Randomized controlled trials and cohort studies across all health care settings were utilized except for studies involving bariatric surgery.

The primary outcome was risk for incident AF in relation to weight change, Jones and colleagues wrote.

There were 10 studies found in which patients met the required criteria (n = 108,996), the researchers wrote.

Jones and colleagues discerned that in five studies of 20,411 participants, a 5% gain in weight increased risk for AF incidence (HR = 1.13; 95% CI, 1.04-1.23; I2 = 70%).

Excessive weight gain may be associated with risk for atrial fibrillation, according to findings published in Heart.
Source: Shutterstock

In five studies of 40,704 participants, a 5% loss in body weight did not significantly change risk for AF incidence (HR = 1.04; 95% CI, 0.94-1.16; I2 = 73%), according to the researchers.

In four studies that reported the effect of degrees of weight loss on incident AF risk, the results were inconclusive, the researchers found.

Jones and colleagues wrote that the link to obesity and incident AF has been established, but more research is needed on the degree of increased risk through weight gain, if nonsurgical weight loss reduces risk for incident AF, and if the effect of weight loss depends on baseline weight status, intentionality and the amount of weight loss.

“Interventions that help prevent weight gain in both individuals and population, even in those already overweight, may reduce the growing global burden of AF and related health care costs,” the researchers wrote. – by Earl Holland Jr.

Disclosures: Jones reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.