Weight Loss Reverses Atrial Fibrillation in Patients With Obesity

ADELAIDE, Australia -- June 26, 2018 -- Patients with obesity who are suffering from atrial fibrillation (AF) can reduce or reverse the effects of the condition by losing weight, according to a study published in Europace.

The researchers found that a 10% loss in weight, along with management of associated risk factors, can reverse the progression of the disease.

“This is the first evidence [that] has been found [showing] that people who are obese and are suffering from AF [can alleviate the effects of AF] by losing weight and treating lifestyle factors,” said Melissa Middeldorp, PhD, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia.

For the study, Dr. Middeldorp and colleagues analysed 1,415 patients with AF. Of the total, 825 patients had a body mass index ≥27 kg/m2 and were offered weight and risk factor management. After exclusion, 355 patients were included for analysis. The patients were categorised by weight loss into 3 groups: <3%, 3% to 9%, and ≥10%.

Results showed that of the patients with <3% weight loss, 41% progressed from paroxysmal to persistent and 26% from persistent to paroxysmal or no AF. In the group that had weight loss of 3%-9%, 32% progressed from paroxysmal to persistent and 49% reversed from persistent to paroxysmal or no AF. The group who had ≥10% weight loss showed the most significant results -- only 3% progressed from paroxysmal to persistent and 88% reversed from persistent to paroxysmal or no AF (P< .001).

The researchers concluded that increased weight loss was significantly associated with greater AF freedom. Of the patients who had weight loss of <3%, 3% to 9%, and ≥10%, freedom from AF was 39%, 67%, and 86%, respectively.

“The study showed that if people [with obesity] lose more than 10% of their weight and [subsequently manage] other risks to their lifestyle, they can reverse the progression of [AF],” said Dr. Middeldorp. “People who lost weight experienced fewer symptoms, required less treatment, and had better outcomes. Those who had previously sustained symptoms experienced only intermittent symptoms or stopped experiencing AF entirely.”

Reference: https://doi.org/10.1093/europace/euy117

SOURCE: University of Adelaide
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