News Release

Does body mass index affect young men’s risk of early atrial fibrillation and subsequent health outcomes after diagnosis?

Peer-Reviewed Publication


A recent analysis published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that rising body mass index (BMI) in adolescent men is strongly associated with developing early atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heart rate, as well as with subsequent worse clinical outcomes after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

The study included 1,704,467 young men (average age of 18.3 years) enrolled in compulsory military service in Sweden from 1969 through 2005. During a median follow-up of 32 years, 36,693 cases of atrial fibrillation were recorded, at an average age of 52.4 years at diagnosis. Compared with men with a baseline BMI of 18.5–<20.0 kg/m2, men with a BMI of 20.0–<22.5 kg/ m2 had a 1.06-times higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation and those with a BMI of 40.0–50.0 kg/ m2 had a 3.72-times higher risk.

In men diagnosed with atrial fibrillation who were followed for a median of approximately 6 years, investigators identified 3,767 deaths, 3,251 cases of heart failure, and 921 cases of ischemic stroke. Compared with those with a baseline BMI of <20 kg/ m2, those with a baseline BMI of >30 kg/ m2 had 2.86-times, 3.42-times, and 2.34-times higher risks of these outcomes, respectively.

"Whether screening for atrial fibrillation in early adulthood among individuals with long-standing obesity and more robust follow-up and initiation of anticoagulants in people with long-standing obesity and atrial fibrillation may improve survival needs to be addressed in future randomized trials" said corresponding author Demir Djekic, MD, PhD, of Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Östra, in Sweden.

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Additional Information

NOTE: The information contained in this release is protected by copyright. Please include journal attribution in all coverage. For more information or to obtain a PDF of any study, please contact: Sara Henning-Stout,

About the Journal

Journal of the American Heart Association provides a global forum for basic and clinical research articles and timely reviews on cardiovascular disease and stroke. As an Open Access journal, its content is freely available, accelerating the translation of strong science into effective practice.

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