Premature atrial contractions (PACs) are associated with increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) and ischemic stroke. Although lifestyle and risk factor modification reduces AF incidence, their relationship to PACs frequency is unclear. We assessed the association of Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) and individual LS7 factors in midlife with PACs frequency in late life in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.
We followed 1924 participants from ARIC clinic Visit 3 (1993-95) to Visit 6 (2016-17) when a 2-week continuous heart rhythm monitor (Zio®XT Patch) was applied. LS7 factors were assessed at Visit 3 and a composite score was calculated. PACs frequency was categorized as minimal (5%). Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association of LS7 score and individual factors with PACs frequency.
Each 1-point LS7 score increase was associated with lower odds of frequent PACs vs. no PACs (OR [95% CI]: 0.87 [0.78, 0.98]) and frequent PACs vs. occasional PACs (OR [95% CI]: 0.88 [0.79, 0.98]). Of the individual LS7 factors, compared with ideal physical activity, poor physical activity was associated with 81% higher odds of frequent PACs vs. no PACs. Compared with ideal BMI, poor BMI was associated with 41% higher odds of occasional PACs vs. no PACs.
Lifestyle risk factors, particularly physical activity and BMI, are associated with higher odds of PACs frequency. More research is needed to determine whether modifying these risk factors in midlife would prevent frequent PACs, and thereby prevent AF and stroke in older age.