Association of exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation with progression of paroxysmal to sustained atrial fibrillation

Benjamin J.R. Buckley, Stephanie L. Harrison, Elnara Fazio-Eynullayeva, Paula Underhill, Deirdre A. Lane, Dick H.J. Thijssen, Gregory Y.H. Lip

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Progression of atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with worsened prognosis for cardiovascular events and mortality. Exercise-based-cardiac rehabilitation programmes have shown preliminary promise for primary and secondary prevention of AF. Yet, such interventions are typically reserved for patients with acute coronary syndrome or undergoing revascularization. Using a retrospective cohort design, the present study investigated the association of exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation on the progression of paroxysmal to sustained AF, compared to propensity-matched controls. Patients with a diagnosis of paroxysmal AF were compared between those with and without an electronic medical record of exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation within 6-months of diagnosis. Using cox regression models, we ascertained odds of 2-year incidence for AF progression. This cohort of 9808 patients with paroxysmal AF demonstrated that exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation was associated with 26% lower odds of AF progression (odds ratio 0.74, 95% CI 0.66–0.83) compared to propensity-matched controls. This beneficial effect seemed to vary across patient subgroups. In conclusion, findings revealed that exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation was associated with significantly lower odds of progression from paroxysmal to sustained AF at 2-years follow-up compared to propensity-matched controls.

Original languageEnglish
Article number435
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Disease progression
  • Rehabilitation
  • Secondary prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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