Physical activity, resting heart rate, and atrial fibrillation: the Tromsø Study
AuthorMorseth, Bente; Graff-Iversen, Sidsel; Jacobsen, Bjarne K.; Jørgensen, Lone; Nyrnes, Audhild; Thelle, Dag Steinar; Vestergaard, Peter; Løchen, Maja-Lisa
Methods and Results: This prospective study included 20 484 adults (50.3% men) who participated in the third Tromsø Study survey in 1986-1987. At baseline, physical activity was assessed by a validated questionnaire, and RHR was objectively measured. Participants were followed from baseline through 2010 with respect to incident cases of hospitaldiagnosed AF documented on an electrocardiogram. During a mean follow-up period of 20 years (409 045 person-years), 750 participants (70.5% men) were diagnosed with AF. Compared with the low physical activity group, moderately active individuals had a 19% lower risk of any AF (adjusted HR 0.81, 95% CI 0.68-0.97), whereas highly active had similar risk of AF. Vigorously active individuals showed a non-significantly higher risk of AF (adjusted HR 1.37, 95% CI 0.77-2.43). Risk of AF increased with decreasing RHR (adjusted HR 0.92, 95% CI 0.86-0.98 for each 10 beats/minutes increase in RHR), and RHR <50 beats/minute was a risk factor for AF (P<0.05).
Conclusion: In this prospective cohort study, leisure time physical activity was associated with AF in a J-shaped pattern. Moderate physical activity was associated with a reduced risk of AF, whereas higher activity levels attenuated the benefits of moderate activity. Low RHR was a risk factor for AF. Our results support the hypothesis that moderate and vigorous physical activity may affect AF risk via different pathophysiological mechanisms.