Prospective cohort studies involving older adults report an association of obesity and new-onset atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. To assess this relation, we performed a longitudinal cohort study from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2013, using a national claims database that tracks all inpatient, outpatient, and pharmacy claims data. The primary end point of new-onset atrial fibrillation was compared between obese and nonobese cohorts. We used logistic regression to determine the strength of association between obesity and new-onset atrial fibrillation controlling for age, gender, hypertension, and diabetes. Overall, 67,278 subjects were included in the cohort, divided evenly between those with and without a diagnosis of obesity. Obese subjects were significantly more likely to have hypertension (29.5% vs 14.6%) and diabetes (12.7% vs 5.2%) at study onset. Over 8 years of follow-up, we recorded a new diagnosis of atrial fibrillation in 1,511 (2.2%) subjects. Obesity was strongly associated with a new diagnosis of atrial fibrillation after controlling for age, gender, hypertension, and diabetes (odds ratio 1.4, 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 1.6). In conclusion, this information contributes to the growing evidence supporting the causal relation between obesity and atrial fibrillation, and emphasizes the need of addressing obesity as part of our therapeutic strategy to prevent atrial fibrillation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1072-1075
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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