Increased risk of atrial fibrillation among elderly Norwegian men with a history of long-term endurance sport practice
Article first published online: 21 NOV 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Volume 24, Issue 4, pages e238–e244, August 2014
How to Cite
Myrstad, M., Løchen, M.-L., Graff-Iversen, S., Gulsvik, A. K., Thelle, D. S., Stigum, H. and Ranhoff, A. H. (2014), Increased risk of atrial fibrillation among elderly Norwegian men with a history of long-term endurance sport practice. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 24: e238–e244. doi: 10.1111/sms.12150
- Issue published online: 16 JUL 2014
- Article first published online: 21 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 OCT 2013
- Diakonhjemmet Hospital
- The Kavli Research Center for Ageing and Dementia
- Norwegian EXTRAFoundation for Health and Rehabilitation
- sports cardiology;
- endurance exercise;
- master athletes;
- cross-country skiing;
- heart disease
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. The prevalence increases with increasing age. In middle-aged men, endurance sport practice is associated with increased risk of AF but there are few studies among elderly people. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of long-term endurance sport practice as a risk factor for AF in elderly men. A cross-sectional study compared 509 men aged 65–90 years who participated in a long-distance cross-country ski race with 1768 men aged 65–87 years from the general population. Long-term endurance sport practice was the main exposure. Self-reported AF and covariates were assessed by questionnaires. Risk differences (RDs) for AF were estimated by using a linear regression model. After multivariable adjustment, a history of endurance sport practice gave an added risk for AF of 6.0 percent points (pp) (95% confidence interval 0.8–11.1). Light and moderate leisure-time physical activity during the last 12 months reduced the risk with 3.7 and 4.3 pp, respectively, but the RDs were not statistically significant. This study suggests that elderly men with a history of long-term endurance sport practice have an increased risk of AF compared with elderly men in the general population.