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Atrial Fibrillation Risk Increased by Being Large at Age 20 or Gaining Weight After Age 20

Henry I. Bussey, Pharm.D., FCCP, FAHA
May, 2009

Reference: Rosengren A, Hauptman PJ, Lappas G, Olsson L, Wilhelmsen L, Swedberg K. Big men and atrial fibrillation: Effects of body size. Eur Heart J. 2009 May;30(9):1113-20.

This Swedish study followed 6903 men (mean age 51.5 years) for a maximum of 34.3 years for the development of Atrial Fibrillation (A. Fib). A. Fib. developed in 1,253 (18.2%). Larger body surface area (BSA) - reflecting weight and height - at age 20 correlated strongly with subsequent risk of A. Fib. (p < 0.0001). Body mass index (BMI) at midlife and weight gain from age 20 to midlife also correlated strongly (p < 0.0001). Regression found that large size at age 20 and weight gain between age 20 and midlife were independent risk factors for the development of A. Fib which were associated with a graded increased risk in A. Fib. to more than a two-fold increase. A discussion on ( points out that these data were generated in a time and place where obesity was much less common than is currently the case in the U.S. Because of the recent increase in the level of obesity; it is likely that the incidence of A. Fib. will continue to increase well above the 18.2 % incidence as reported in this trial.

These findings appear to be consistent with others posted on ClotCare at which suggested that the prevalence of atrial fibrillation in the U.S. may be more than 5 million people and increasing.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2024