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Insulin resistance not tied to atrial fibrillation

Reuters Health • The Doctor's Channel Daily Newscast

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Insulin resistance shows no significant association with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, researchers report in an October 14th on-line paper in the American Journal of Cardiology. Insulin resistance, per se, thus does not appear to be part of the pathogenesis.

Dr. Emelia J. Benjamin told Reuters Health by email, “Diabetes and obesity predispose to atrial fibrillation and all three conditions are increasing in prevalence and public health burden. We hypothesized that insulin resistance, which is associated with both diabetes and obesity might contribute to the increased risk of atrial fibrillation.”

To investigate, Dr. Benjamin of Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts and colleagues examined data on 3,023 participants in The Framingham Offspring Study fifth and seventh examination cycles. Their mean age was 59 years.

Within 10 years of follow-up, 279 (9.3%) developed AF. After adjusting for established AF risk factors such as age, gender and body mass index, multivariate modeling showed that insulin resistance was not significantly associated with incident AF.

The researchers point out that “We cannot rule out the possibility that an older, more ethnically diverse sample with a greater burden of cardiovascular risk factors might manifest an association between insulin resistance and incident AF.”[3end]

“However,” concluded Dr. Benjamin, “our study did not reveal a link between insulin resistance and new-onset atrial fibrillation. Our study suggests that we will need to seek other explanations for the connection between diabetes, obesity and atrial fibrillation.”


Insulin Resistance and Atrial Fibrillation (from the Framingham Heart Study)

Am J Cardiol 2011.