Regular Physical Activity and Risk of Atrial Fibrillation: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Although previous studies have suggested that competitive athletes have a higher risk of atrial fibrillation than the general population, limited and inconsistent data are available on the association between regular physical activity and the risk of atrial fibrillation.

Methods and Results—

A systematic, comprehensive literature search was performed using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and COCHRANE until 2011. Extracted data from the eligible studies were meta-analyzed using fixed effects model. Four studies, which included 95 526 subjects, were eligible for meta-analysis. For all of the studies included, the extreme groups (ie, maximum versus minimal amount of physical activity) were used for the current analyses. The total number of participants belonging to the extreme groups was 43 672. The pooled odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for atrial fibrillation among regular exercisers was 1.08 (0.97–1.21).


Our data do not support a statistically significant association between regular physical activity and increased incidence of atrial fibrillation.

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