"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

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Dr. Wilber Su Cavanaugh Heart Center, Phoenix, AZ

"Your book [Beat Your A-Fib] is the quintessential most important guide not only for the individual experiencing atrial fibrillation and his family, but also for primary physicians, and cardiologists."

Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel, nurse, blogger and author "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness"


"Steve Ryan's summaries of the Boston A-Fib Symposium are terrific. Steve has the ability to synthesize and communicate accurately in clear and simple terms the essence of complex subjects. This is an exceptional skill and a great service to patients with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin of Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

"I love your [A-fib.com] website, Patti and Steve! An excellent resource for anybody seeking credible science on atrial fibrillation plus compelling real-life stories from others living with A-Fib. Congratulations…"

Carolyn Thomas, blogger and heart attack survivor; MyHeartSisters.org

"Steve, your website was so helpful. Thank you! After two ablations I am now A-fib free. You are a great help to a lot of people, keep up the good work."

Terry Traver, former A-Fib patient

"If you want to do some research on AF go to A-Fib.com by Steve Ryan, this site was a big help to me, and helped me be free of AF."

Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013

Jose Jalife, MD

Jose Jalife, MD

AF Symposium 2017

New Insights into the Effects of Obesity on Atrial Fibrillation

Dr. Jose Jalife of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, discussed the “Obesity Paradox”. The Paradox is a hypothesis that obesity may be protective and associated with greater survival with certain chronic diseases. Dr. Jalfie showed how and why this is not the case with Atrial Fibrillation.

Under normal conditions, the surface of the heart (epicardium) is covered by fat stored in the tissue (called adipose tissue).

A-Fib is often associated with increased volume of epicardial fat. This increased volume lengthens the duration of A-Fib episodes and results in fibrotic remodeling of the adipose tissue.

In addition, fatty acids both shorten the ‘action potential’ and increase the ‘dominant frequency’ (factors in the initiation and maintenance of AF signals). This leads to fibrosis (fibrofatty infiltration) of the epicardial fat. Altogether, they perpetuate Atrial Fibrillation signals and episodes.

“Obesity Paradox” Doesn’t Apply

Excessive epicardial fat is bad for those with A-Fib. Thanks to Dr. Jalife’s research, we can rule out the “Obesity Paradox” with regards to obesity and A-Fib. Increased epicardial fat:

• Increases the duration of A-Fib
• causes fibrotic remodeling of the adipose tissue
• Increases fatty acids

Thanks to Dr. Jalife we are beginning to understand how and why obesity affects the heart and A-Fib.

Surgery of Obese Patient―My Observations

At a 2016 conference in Zürich, I watched a live A-Fib surgery of an obese patient. It was incredible how many layers of yellow fat bundles the surgeon had to cut through before reaching the heart.

If a video of this surgery were shown to A-Fib patients who are significantly overweight, it could be quite motivating. When you actually see the epicardial fat layers Dr. Jalife talks about, it makes a frightening, ‘come-to-Jesus’ impression.

What Patients Need to Know

Weight Loss and A-Fib: Research has shown that just losing weight and exercising, by themselves, can reduce and even eliminate A-Fib.

Recurrence Rates: In addition, many EPs today won’t perform a catheter ablation on someone who is obese, because their recurrence rates are very high compared to normal patients.

If you have A-Fib and are significantly overweight (not just a few pounds), you can expect to hear a lecture from your EP/doctor that you should lose some weight.

For more, see Weight Loss Key to Reverse Atrial Fibrillation, Improve Ablation Success.

Return to 2017 AF Symposium Reports
If you find any errors on this page, email us. Last updated: Friday, March 3, 2017

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