(HealthDay News) – For overweight and obese patients with atrial fibrillation, a weight management intervention is associated with reductions in atrial fibrillation symptom burden and severity, according to a study published online Nov. 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research was published to coincide with the American Heart Association’s 2013 Scientific Sessions, held from Nov. 16–19 in Dallas.

Hany S. Abed, MBBS, from the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues conducted a single-center, partially blinded, randomized trial involving 150 overweight and obese ambulatory patients with symptomatic atrial fibrillation. Patients were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to weight management (intervention) or general lifestyle advice (control) and were followed for a median of 15 months.

The researchers observed a greater reduction in weight in the intervention vs. the control group (14.3kg vs. 3.6kg; P<0.001). The intervention group also experienced significantly greater reductions in atrial fibrillation symptom burden scores, symptom severity scores, number of episodes, and cumulative duration, compared with the control group. In both the intervention and control groups, there was a reduction in interventricular septal thickness and left atrial area, with significantly larger reductions in the intervention group.

“In this study, weight reduction with intensive risk factor management resulted in a reduction in atrial fibrillation symptom burden and severity and in beneficial cardiac remodeling,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries; meal replacements were provided by Prima Health Solutions.

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