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Atrial fibrillation represents a substantial clinical and public health issue. The definitive impact of body mass index on prognosis of patients with chronic (persistent or permanent) atrial fibrillation remains undetermined.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of body mass index with health outcomes (mortality and re-hospitalisation) of patients with chronic atrial fibrillation.
Using data from the Standard versus Atrial Fibrillation spEcific managemenT strategY (SAFETY) trial (a randomised controlled trial of home-based, atrial fibrillation-specific disease management), we performed post-hoc analyses of mortality and re-hospitalisation outcomes during minimum 24-month follow-up according to baseline body mass index profile.
Of 297 participants (mean age 71±11 years, 47% female, mean body mass index 29.6±6.7 kg/m2), 35.0% of participants were overweight (body mass index 25.0–29.9 kg/m2) and 43.1% were obese (body mass index≥30 kg/m2). During follow-up, n=42 died including 16/65 (24.6%) classified as normal body mass index, 16/104 (15.4%) classified as overweight and 10/128 (7.8%) classified as obese. Increasing body mass index was not associated with increased mortality but was associated with re-hospitalisation due to cardiovascular disease with greater length-of-stay (odds ratio 1.05; 95% confidence interval 1.00–1.09, p=0.032). Obese individuals experienced increased unplanned admissions compared to overweight individuals (incidence rate ratio 0.71; 95% confidence interval 0.53–0.96, p=0.028), and increased cardiovascular-related (incidence rate ratio 0.58; 95% confidence interval 0.39–0.86, p=0.007) and all-cause admissions (incidence rate ratio 0.63; 95% confidence interval 0.45–0.89, p=0.008) compared to those classified as normal body mass index.
Overweight and obesity were not associated with survival in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation but were associated with more frequent hospital care and prolonged stay.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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