Differential Association of Exercise Intensity With Risk of Atrial Fibrillation in Men and Women: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis

Sanghamitra Mohanty, Prasant Mohanty, Megumi Tamaki, Veronica Natale, Carola Gianni, Chintan Trivedi, Yalcin Gokoglan, Luigi Di Biase, Andrea Natale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Background: Despite widespread interest and extensive research, the association between different levels of physical activity (PA) and risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) is still not clearly defined. Therefore, we systematically evaluated and summarized the evidences regarding association of different intensity of PA with the risk of AF in this meta-analysis. Methods and Results: An extensive literature search was performed on databases for studies showing association of exercise with AF risk. Twenty-two studies were identified that included 656,750 subjects. Meta-analytic estimates were derived using random-effects models and pooled odds ratio estimates were obtained. Potential sources of heterogeneity were examined in sensitivity analyses, and publication biases were estimated. Pooled analysis of 7 studies with 93,995 participants reported high risk of incident AF with sedentary lifestyle (pooled OR 2.47 [95% CI 1.25–3.7], P = 0.005). In 3 trials, 149,048 women involved in moderate PA were 8.6% less likely to develop AF compared to women with sedentary life (OR 0.91 [95% CI 0.78–0.97], P = 0.002). Women performing intense exercise were found to have 28% lower risk of AF (OR 0.72 [95% CI 0.57–0.88], P < 0.001). The overall pooled estimate indicated a protective impact of moderate PA in men (pooled OR 0.8133 [95% CI 0.26–1.004], P = 0.06) whereas vigorous PA was associated with a significantly increased AF risk (pooled OR 3.30 [1.97–4.63], P = 0.0002). Conclusion: Sedentary lifestyle significantly increases and moderate amount of physical activity reduces the risk of AF in both men and women. However, intense exercise has a gender-specific association with AF risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1021-1029
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cardiovascular electrophysiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • atrial fibrillation
  • exercise intensity
  • gender
  • physical activity
  • sedentary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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