Does long-lasting sports practice increase the risk of atrial fibrillation in healthy middle-aged men? Weak suggestions, no objective evidence


    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

BackgroundSome authors have suggested that sports activity can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation in healthy middle-aged men. Therefore, sport activity, although it prevents coronary artery disease, might be the cause of a potentially dangerous arrhythmia.MethodsTo verify this assumption, we critically analyzed the current literature including original articles, reviews and meta-analyses.Results and conclusionsAll published articles showed several limitations. The data provided by published studies support the following conclusions: the incidence of atrial fibrillation in sporting middle-aged men is rare (<0.5% per year); a possible facilitating effect on atrial fibrillation is limited to vigorous endurance exercise, not to less vigorous sports; there are no convincing data to demonstrate that sport itself may be the cause of atrial fibrillation in healthy middle-aged men; and a facilitating effect of long-lasting sport cannot be excluded in middle-aged individuals with cardiovascular disorders. Nevertheless, the beneficial effects of exercise should offset this supposed risk, which, albeit increased, remains low.

    loading  Loading Related Articles