Obesity and atrial fibrillation: making inroads through fat.


Javed S(1)(2), Gupta D(1), Lip GYH(1).
Author information:
(1)Liverpool Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Liverpool, UK.
(2)Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.


The global prevalence of obesity has reached epidemic proportions, paralleled by a rise in cases of atrial fibrillation (AF). Data from epidemiological cohorts support the role of obesity as an independent risk factor for AF. Increasing evidence indicates that obesity may contribute to the AF substrate through a number of pathways including by altering epicardial adipose tissue biology, inflammatory pathways, structural cardiac remodelling, and inducing atrial fibrosis. Due to changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, specific therapeutic considerations are required to guide management of patients with AF including anticoagulation and rhythm control. Also, weight loss in patients with AF has been associated with reduced progression from paroxysmal to persistent AF and indeed regression from persistent to proximal AF. However, the role of dietary intervention in AF control remains to be fully elucidated and hard prospective outcome data to support weight loss are required in AF to determine its role as part of a comprehensive risk factor management strategy for AF in obese patients.