Risk for Atrial Fibrillation Recurrence Increases With Body Weight

Rates of atrial fibrillation (AF) recurrence following ablation increase incrementally according to body mass index, both in short- and long-term follow-up.

HealthDay News — Rates of atrial fibrillation (AF) recurrence following ablation increase incrementally according to body mass index, both in short- and long-term follow-up, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the European Heart Rhythm Association, held from April 3 to 5 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Jacob Toennesen, M.B.B.S., from Gentofte University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues used Danish registries to identify all adult patients (9,229 individuals) who underwent first-time AF ablation from 2010 through 2018. Relative rates of AF recurrence were examined by body weight.

The researchers found that the median age at first-time AF ablation was lower in the morbidly obese group (60 years) than in the normal-weight group (64 years). The number of patients with a CHA₂DS₂VASc score ≥2 was higher in the morbidly obese group (65%) than in the normal-weight group (48%). Both at one-year and five-year follow-up, the risk for recurrent AF increased incrementally and significantly in overweight groups versus normal-weight patients.

“The strength of association between high body mass index and repeat atrial fibrillation after ablation was comparable to the influence of well-known factors like heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and hypertension which are typically treated in these patients,” Toennesen said in a statement. “Our study suggests that overweight patients should be advised to lose weight before the intervention to improve the likelihood of being free of the arrhythmia afterwards.”

The study was supported by Novo Nordisk.

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