(HealthDay News) — Incremental increases in body mass index (BMI) are associated with excess risk of incident, postoperative, and post-ablation atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a review published online May 27 in JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.

Christopher X. Wong, MBBS, from the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to quantify the magnitude of the correlation between incremental increases in BMI and development of incident, postoperative, and post-ablation AF. Data were included from 51 studies involving 626,603 individuals.

The researchers found that for every 5 unit BMI increase there were greater excess risks of incident AF in cohort and case-control studies (odds ratios, 1.29 and 1.19, respectively). For every 5 unit increase in BMI, greater excess risks of postoperative and post-ablation AF were identified (odds ratios, 1.10 and 1.13, respectively).

“Incremental increases in BMI are associated with a significant excess risk of AF in different clinical settings,” the authors write. “By providing a comprehensive and reliable quantification of the relationship between incremental increases in obesity and AF across different clinical settings, our findings highlight the potential for even moderate reductions in population body mass indices to have a significant impact in mitigating the rising burden of AF.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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