(HealthDay News) — Bariatric surgery may prevent the development of atrial fibrillation in morbidly obese patients, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society, held from May 7 to 10 in San Francisco.

Hongtao Yuan, M.D., and colleagues analyzed data for 438 patients (mean age, 59±11 years; 81.1% female) with body mass index (BMI) greater than 40kg/m² who received bariatric surgery (326 patients) or served as controls (112 patients). The authors sought to assess the effect of bariatric surgery on incidence of atrial fibrillation.

The researchers found that the group receiving bariatric surgery had a significant reduction in BMI compared with the control group (−12.1±0.4kg/m² vs. 0.2±0.7kg/m²; P<0.001) and some improvements in metabolic profile. The incidence of atrial fibrillation was comparable in the groups at baseline. At a median of 7.2±3.5 years, the incidence of atrial fibrillation was significantly lower in patients who received bariatric surgery than in those who did not receive surgery (6.4 vs. 16.1%; P<0.01).

“Bariatric surgery has a preventive effect on the incidence of atrial fibrillation in patients with morbid obesity,” the authors write.

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