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Volume 32, Nº 4, July and August 2019


DOI: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.5935/2359-4802.20190055


Physical Activity and Incidence of Atrial Fibrillation - Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Daniel Carlos Garlipp

Raphael Boesche Guimaraes

Simone Louise Savaris

Clovis Froemming Junior

Oscar Dutra

Tiago Luiz Luz Leiria


Background: The relationship between exercise and atrial fibrillation (AF) is controversial.

Objectives: To analyze the effects of physical activity on the incidence of atrial fibrillation using systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods: Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that relate physical exercise and atrial fibrillation. The following databases were searched: PubMed, BVS Saúde and Cochrane. The following descriptors were used: "atrial fibrillation", "exercise", "physical activity" and "exercise therapy". All prospective, retrospective, cross-sectional and cohort studies were investigated. All statistical analyzes were provided using Review Manager 5.3 to provide the mean difference (MD) and relative risk (RR) ratio with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). The statistical method of heterogeneity index was used to assess heterogeneity. Level of significance was 5%.

Results: Combined analysis of 11 studies totaling 276,323 participants aged between 12 and 90 years did not suggest a significant increase in AF in individuals submitted to physical exercise (RR = 0.914, 95% CI = 0.833-1.003, heterogeneity: p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Physical exercise, lato sensu, without stratification by intensity, sex or age does not seem to be associated with an increase of atrial fibrillation. (Int J Cardiovasc Sci. 2019;32(4):384-390)

Keywords: Exercise; Atrial Fibrillation; Asthma; Exercise Therapy; Cardiorespiratory Fitness; Review; Meta-Analysis as Topic.