Association between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and risk of atrial fibrillation in adult individuals: An updated meta-analysis.Liver Int. 2019 04; 39(4):758-769.LI
BACKGROUND & AIMS
Recent studies examined the association between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) in adults, but the findings have been inconsistent. We provided a quantitative estimate of the magnitude of the association between NAFLD and risk of AF.
We searched publication databases using predefined keywords to identify observational studies (published up to December 14, 2018), in which NAFLD was diagnosed by biopsy, imaging or biochemistry and AF was diagnosed by medical history and electrocardiograms. Data from selected studies were extracted and meta-analysis was performed using random-effects modelling.
Nine cross-sectional and longitudinal studies were included in the final analysis (n = 364 919 individuals). Meta-analysis of data from 5 cross-sectional studies showed that NAFLD was associated with an increased risk of prevalent AF (random-effects odds ratio 2.07, 95% CI 1.38-3.10; I2 = 54.7%), independent of age, sex, body mass index, hypertension and other common AF risk factors. This risk was particularly high among patients with established diabetes (n = 1 study; random-effects odds ratio 5.17, 95% CI 2.05-13.02). Meta-analysis of data from 4 longitudinal studies showed that NAFLD was independently associated with a 10-year increased risk of incident AF only in type 2 diabetic patients (n = 1 study; random-effects hazard ratio 4.96, 95% CI 1.42-17.28). Sensitivity analyses did not modify these findings. Funnel plots did not reveal significant publication bias.
NAFLD is associated with an increased risk of AF in middle-aged and elderly individuals (especially in those with type 2 diabetes). However, the observational design of the eligible studies does not allow for proving causality.