The role of obesity and sleep apnea in atrial fibrillation

Matthew Needleman, Hugh Calkins
Current Opinion in Cardiology 2011, 26 (1): 40-5

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To discuss the relationship between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea as they relate to the growing atrial fibrillation epidemic, and to discuss possible mechanistic links and implications for treatment of atrial fibrillation.

RECENT FINDINGS: Increasing BMI plays an important role in development of atrial fibrillation in both men and women. Sleep-disordered breathing contributes to cardiac chamber enlargement, which may be responsible for increasing atrial fibrillation in this population. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea and/or obesity have less freedom from atrial fibrillation recurrence after catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation.

SUMMARY: BMI is a strong predictor of future development of atrial fibrillation and should be considered as a risk factor for atrial fibrillation. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea and/or obesity have high atrial fibrillation recurrence rates following atrial fibrillation ablation.

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