Weight Loss Reduces Atrial Fibrillation

Obesity is associated with atrial fibrillation (AF) but the heart condition can be reduced if these patients shed pounds.

Rajeev Pathank and colleagues at the Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders at the University of Adelaide, Canberra, Australia studied AF in 355 patients with a body mass index of 27.

Their goal was to see if losing weight would improve their arrhythmia, and if there would be a dose-response.

The patients studied were voluntarily enrolled in a weight loss clinic and their health was tracked annually four 4 years. Their AF was analyzed through clinic review with evaluation of AF burden by an AF severity score and 7-day Holter monitoring.

After 4 years, 45% of patients who lost at least 10% of their weight and 22% of patients who lost 3% to 9% of their weight achieved freedom from AF without the use of surgery or medication.

Only 13% of patients who loss less than 3% of their body weight were free of symptoms without these treatments.

But in those patients who regained 5% of the weight they lost, it was twice as common to find that their rhythm problems had returned.

“Long-term sustained weight loss is associated with significant reduction of AF burden with improved maintenance of sinus rhythm,” Pathak concluded.

Their study, known as LEGACY, was presented March 16 at the American College of Cardiology meeting in San Diego, CA.