How to Prevent Atrial Fibrillation from Recurring?

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Currently, there is no effective drug to treat atrial fibrillation (AF).  Even using the most potent drug, amiodarone, only 50% of the AF patients can have their sinus rhythm maintained for a year.  If you have been diagnosed with AF, how can you prevent atrial fibrillation from recurring? 

A reported published American Journal of Cardiology indicated that obese patients face an increased rate of AF recurrence and AF burden (as measured by the number of follow-up visits when patients were in AF). 

The investigators analyzed 2,500 AF patients in the AFFIRM trial to evaluate the relation of obesity (as determined by body-mass index, or BMI) to AF recurrence and AF burden. 

They found that the risk AF recurrence increased by 2.0% for a 1 kg/m2 increase in BMI, by 10.4% for a 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI, and by 21.8% for a 10 kg/m2 increase in BMI (p=0.03 for each). 

In other words, obese patients were 26.8% more likely than non-obese patients to have AF recurrence and required cardioversion.  

Although the mechanism of obesity-related increased risk for AF is unclear, the study reconfirms our previous recommendation that healthy lifestyle such as exercise that maintain weight at the optimal range can reduce AF recurrence and reduce the risks of complication associated with AF. 

Source: American Journal of Cardiology December 31, 2010. 

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