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Eur Heart J. 2012 Nov;33(21):2709-17. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehs301. Epub 2012 Sep 12.

The impact of height on the risk of atrial fibrillation: the Cardiovascular Health Study.

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Cardiovascular Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 185 Pilgrim Road, Baker 4, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia. Increased body size has been associated with AF, but the relationship is not well understood. In this study, we examined the effect of increased height on the risk of AF and explore potential mediators and implications for clinical practice.


We examined data from 5860 individuals taking part in the Cardiovascular Health Study, a cohort study of older US adults followed for a median of 13.6 (women) and 10.3 years (men). Multivariate linear models and age-stratified Cox proportional hazards and risk models were used, with focus on the effect of height on both prevalent and incident AF. Among 684 (22.6%) and 568 (27.1%) incident cases in women and men, respectively, greater height was significantly associated with AF risk [hazard ratio (HR)(women) per 10 cm 1.32, confidence interval (CI) 1.16-1.50, P < 0.0001; HR(men) per 10 cm 1.26, CI 1.11-1.44, P < 0.0001]. The association was such that the incremental risk from sex was completely attenuated by the inclusion of height (for men, HR 1.48, CI 1.32-1.65, without height, and HR 0.94, CI 0.85-1.20, with height included). Inclusion of height in the Framingham model for incident AF improved discrimination. In sequential models, however, we found minimal attenuation of the risk estimates for AF with adjustment for left ventricular (LV) mass and left atrial (LA) dimension. The associations of LA and LV size measurements with AF risk were weakened when indexed to height.


Independent from sex, increased height is significantly associated with the risk of AF.

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