Large Body Mass Linked with AFib Development

Large body mass was associated with the development of atrial fibrillation (AFib), results from a recent Mendelian randomization study suggested.  

Researchers studying the associations between fat-free mass and fat mass on incident AFib in the U.K. looked at data collected from 487,404 individuals from U.K. Biobank study. They used Cox proportional hazards models in two sets: one adjusting for age, sex, and region, and the other further adjusting for covariates like physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, blood pressure, diabetes, and lipid medication). Mean follow-up was 6.1 years.  

According to the study results, both fat-free mass and fat mass correlated strongly with incident AFib, although the effect for fat-free mass (HR=1.77; 95% CI, 1.72 to 1.83) than for fat mass (HR=1.40; 95% CI, 1.37 to 1.43). The associations were attenuated when adjusting for some study covariates. Multivariate Mendelian randomization analysis indicated independence between fat-free and fat mass causal effects. 

“Our MR analyses suggested that both fat-free mass and fat mass are causally related with AF,” the researchers wrote in the study. “Our multivariate MR analysis showed that these effects are independent of each other.” 

They stressed the importance of pursuing weight loss and increased physical activity as a goal in the prevention of AFib. 

“Weight loss is likely to be a key factor in preventing AFib, regardless of the person’s current body composition,” they wrote. “This observation is also in line with the 2016 European Society of Cardiology Guidelines for the management of AFib developed in collaboration with European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS), where weight loss should be considered to reduce AF burden and symptoms in obese patients with AFib.” 

The analysis was published in the European Heart Jourunal 

Source: European Heart Journal