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Weight-Loss Surgery May Help Prevent AFib

So-called 'bariatric' procedures appear to cut risk of atrial fibrillation, researchers report

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"I think this is further evidence that maintaining a normal body weight or weight loss is important for cardiovascular health," said Gold, who is also second vice president of the Heart Rhythm Society. "It provides further impetus for clinicians to think about bariatric surgery sooner, particularly cardiologists. We can be more proactive in our treatment."

Dr. John Day, director of heart rhythm services at Intermountain Heart Institute in Murray, Utah, noted that North America has the highest prevalence of atrial fibrillation in the world, largely because of its obesity epidemic. Prior research has indicated that obesity increases the risk of atrial fibrillation by more than 50 percent, he said.

"The message here is that getting the weight off can have a powerful reversal effect on atrial fibrillation," Day said. "Atrial fibrillation is a reversible condition, it's not set in stone. This is a message of hope for so many patients suffering from it."

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