Big babies could be at higher risk of common heart rhythm di
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Elevated birth weight is linked with developing atrial fibrillation later in life, according to research presented at the 31st Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology (GW-ICC).

Study author said: "These results suggest that the risk of atrial fibrillation in adulthood may be higher for large newborns (over 4,000 grams or 8 pounds 13 ounces) than those with normal birth weight. Preventing elevated birth weight could be a novel way to avoid atrial fibrillation in offspring—for example with a balanced diet and regular check-ups during pregnancy, particularly for women who are overweight, obese or have diabetes."

He added: "People born with a high weight should adopt a healthy lifestyle to lower their likelihood of developing the heart rhythm disorder."

The researchers conducted a naturally randomised controlled trial—a technique called Mendelian randomisation. First, they used data from 321,223 individuals in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify 132 genetic variants associated with birth weight.6 Next, they identified which of those variants play a role in atrial fibrillation using data from 537,409 participants of the Atrial Fibrillation Consortium.

To conduct the naturally randomised controlled trial, the 132 genetic variants were randomly allocated to the 537,409 participants at conception, giving each individual a birth weight in grams. The investigators then analysed the association between birth weight and atrial fibrillation.

Elevated birth weight was associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation later in life. Specifically, participants with a birth weight that was 482 grams (about 1 standard deviation) above the average (3,397 grams) were 30% more likely to develop the heart rhythm disorder.

Researchers said: "A major strength of this study is the methodology, which allows us to conclude that there may be a causal relationship between high birth weight and atrial fibrillation. However, we cannot discount the possibility that adult height and weight may be the reasons for the connection. Birth weight is a robust predictor for adult height, and taller people are more likely to develop atrial fibrillation. Previous research has shown that the link between birth weight and atrial fibrillation was weaker when adult weight was taken into account."

Source: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/big-babies-could-be-at-higher-risk-of-common-heart-rhythm-disorder-in-adulthood
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