Physical activity volume in relation to risk of atrial fibrillation. A non-linear meta-regression analysis

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Abstract

Background

Light physical activity is known to reduce atrial fibrillation risk, whereas moderate to vigorous physical activity may result in an increased risk. However, the question of what volume of physical activity can be considered beneficial remains poorly understood. The scope of the present work was to examine the relation between physical activity volume and atrial fibrillation risk.

Design

A comprehensive systematic review was performed following the PRISMA guidelines.

Methods

A non-linear meta-regression considering the amount of energy spent in physical activity was carried out. The first derivative of the non-linear relation between physical activity and atrial fibrillation risk was evaluated to determine the volume of physical activity that carried the minimum atrial fibrillation risk.

Results

The dose–response analysis of the relation between physical activity and atrial fibrillation risk showed that physical activity at volumes of 5–20 metabolic equivalents per week (MET-h/week) was associated with significant reduction in atrial fibrillation risk (relative risk for 19 MET-h/week = 0.92 (0.87, 0.98). By comparison, physical activity volumes exceeding 20 MET-h/week were unrelated to atrial fibrillation risk (relative risk for 21 MET-h/week = 0.95 (0.88, 1.02).

Conclusion

These data show a J-shaped relation between physical activity volume and atrial fibrillation risk. Physical activity at volumes of up to 20 MET-h/week is associated with reduced atrial fibrillation risk, whereas volumes exceeding 20 MET-h/week show no relation with risk.

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