Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Cardiorespiratory Fitness & Incidence of AF, Stroke

Am J Cardiol; ePub 2017 Nov 13; Hussain, et al

Better cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is associated with lower risk of incident atrial fibrillation (AF), stroke, and all-cause mortality, a recent study found. The retrospective study from 1993 through 2010 identified 76,857 patients referred for a treadmill exercise test (TMET) at the Mayo Clinic Integrated Stress Center, Rochester, MN. Functional Aerobic Capacity (FAC) was calculated from age and sex-specific TMET performances. Subjects were divided into 4 groups at baseline on quartiles of FAC and followed through January 2016. The final study cohort included 12,043 patients. Researchers found:

  • During median follow-up of 14 years, 1,222 patients developed incident AF, 1,128 developed stroke, and 1,590 patients died.
  • Each 10% increase in FAC was associated with a decrease in the risk of incident AF, stroke, and mortality by 7%, 8%, and 16%, respectively.
  • Risk of both stroke and mortality were significantly higher in the subset of patients who developed incident AF with baseline FAC <75% compared to AF patients with baseline FAC ≥105%.


Hussain N, Gersh BJ, Carta KG, et al. Impact of cardiorespiratory fitness on frequency of atrial fibrillation, stroke, and all-cause mortality. [Published online ahead of print November 13, 2017]. Am J Cardiol. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2017.09.021.