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Exercise in AF Patients
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Exercise in AF Patients

Dr Adrian Elliott, Institution: University of Adelaide

2020 Future Leader Fellowship

Years funded: 2021-2024


Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is common amongst Australians and is the most frequent cause of cardiac hospitalisation. Additionally, AF increases the risk of stroke and heart failure. The aim of this study is threefold; first, we will assess whether fitness is an independent risk marker for AF outcomes, by comparing the electrical and structural characteristics of the hearts of patients grouped by their fitness levels. This has important implications has it may reveal whether a patient's baseline fitness can give us important information on their outcomes. Second, we aim to explore whether there is evidence of cardiac disease that has gone unrecognised in patients with AF.

To do this we will take advanced measures of structural, functional and electrical characteristics of their hearts. We aim to assess how many patients have signs of unrecognised heart failure and try to understand which groups of patients this may effect. Finally, the largest part of this study is to evaluate whether exercise training improves outcomes in patients who undergo a common procedure for AF, known as an ablation. We will determine whether an individualised exercise program, prescribed in the six months following ablation, improves key clinical outcomes. These include the recurrence of AF post procedure, the function of the heart and important risk factors. This final element will allow us to understand whether we should recommend exercise to patients with AF in an attempt to prevent rehospitalisations, improve the cardiovascular health of patients and lower the risk of debilitating events such as stroke and the onset of heart failure.

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