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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2012 Aug 28;60(9):851-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2012.03.042. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Electrophysiological and hemodynamic characteristics associated with obesity in patients with atrial fibrillation.

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.



The authors sought to characterize the left atrial (LA) and pulmonary vein (PV) electrophysiological and hemodynamic features in obese patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).


Obesity is associated with increased risk for AF.


A total of 63 consecutive patients with AF who had normal left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction and who underwent catheter ablation were studied. Atrial and PV electrophysiological studies were performed at the time of ablation with hemodynamic assessment by cardiac catheterization, and LA/LV structure and function by echocardiography. Patients were compared on the basis of body mass index (BMI): <25 kg/m(2) (n = 19) and BMI ≥30 kg/m(2) (n = 44).


At a 600-ms pacing cycle length, obese patients had shorter effective refractory period (ERP) in the left atrium (251 ± 25 ms vs. 233 ± 32 ms, p = 0.04), and in the proximal (207 ± 33 ms vs. 248 ± 34 ms, p < 0.001) and distal (193 ± 33 ms vs. 248 ± 44 ms, p < 0.001) PV than normal BMI patients. Obese patients had higher mean LA pressure (15 ± 5 mm Hg vs. 10 ± 5 mm Hg, p < 0.001) and LA volume index (28 ± 12 ml/m(2) vs. 21 ± 14 ml/m(2), p = 0.006), and lower LA strain (5.5 ± 3.1% vs. 8.8 ± 2.8%; p < 0.001) than normal BMI patients.


Increased LA pressure and volume, and shortened ERP in the left atrium and PV are potential factors facilitating and perpetuating AF in obese patients with AF.

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