Weight loss for obese people with atrial fibrillation may help restore healthy heart rhythm.
Wikipedia defines atrial fibrillation as an abnormal heart rhythm characterized by rapid and irregular beating. A study presented at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session revealed that obese patients who lost at least 10% of their body weight were six times more likely to achieve long-term freedom from this disorder compared to those who did not lose weight.
The study was the first to track the long-term effects of weight loss and the degree of weight fluctuation on atrial fibrillation burden. Patients who lost more weight and maintained a more stable weight over four years showed marked reductions in atrial fibrillation burden and severity, the study's primary endpoints.
Weight loss was also associated with significant structural changes in the heart that are beneficial. More than five million adults in the US have atrial fibrillation. It's the primary cause for episodes of weakness, shortness of breath and palpitations, and increases the risk of more serious problems such as stroke. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.
In an analysis that took all of these factors into account, patients who lost at least 10% of their weight were six times more likely to achieve freedom from atrial fibrillation than patients who lost less than 3% of their weight or gained weight.