Lifestyle Therapy for the Management of Atrial Fibrillation

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The American journal of cardiology


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common arrhythmia associated with increased risk of morbidity and mortality. There is evidence that lifestyle interventions may serve as complementary treatments to reduce AF burden. The objective of this review was to summarize the efficacy of lifestyle interventions for the management of AF. Studies which included patients with systolic heart failure (ejection fraction ≤40%), and those limited to an examination of vigorous physical activity were excluded from our search. Studies were identified through a search of the following databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHIL, and PubMed, run from inception through August 2016. All studies were graded for quality using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine recommendations. Meta-analyses of the studies were not performed due to the heterogeneity of the studies. From a total of 1,811 publications, 10 articles were identified and included. Selected publications included 1 study on yoga, 2 studies on acupuncture, 3 studies that examined weight loss programs, and 4 studies that evaluated the impact of moderate physical activity. Yoga was associated with less symptomatic AF episodes and improved quality of life. Acupuncture was associated with reduced AF occurrence in patients with persistent and paroxysmal AF. Weight loss was associated with a significant reduction AF burden and symptoms. Moderate exercise resulted in greater arrhythmia free survival and a mean reduction in AF burden. In conclusion, evidence exists to suggest that yoga, weight loss, and moderate exercise are associated with reductions in AF burden and symptoms. Evidence is greatest for weight loss and moderate exercise.

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