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A new approach to weight loss and risk factor management in patients with atrial fibrillation

Dr Christopher Wong, Institution: University of Adelaide

2018 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2019-2020


Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder that affects Australians. There are predicted to be more than 70 million people with atrial fibrillation in the Asia Pacific alone by 2050. This is concerning as atrial fibrillation can result in stroke, heart failure and death, and is responsible for more admissions to Australia than heart attacks or heart failure. We now understand that more than half of all cases of atrial fibrillation are due to suboptimal control of common cardiovascular risk factors. Excessive weight, elevated blood pressure, and diabetes are amongst the most important risk factors for this common heart rhythm disorder. Lifestyle change to reduce weight and control risk factors has been shown to favourably reduce symptoms and improve normal heart rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation.

However, many patients cannot control cardiovascular risk factors adequately in this manner with diet, lifestyle changes and standard medications. Therefore, new approaches to weight loss and risk factor management are needed to better prevent and manage atrial fibrillation. This study will characterise the effect of a new drug that treats all three of these risk factors simultaneously. We aim to see whether this new drug shows promise in improving symptoms and outcomes in patients with atrial fibrillation. If shown to be successful, this new drug and approach to treating this common heart rhythm disorder could be beneficial to millions of patients worldwide.

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