January 21, 2019 0 comments

Exercising to Stop Atrial Fibrillation

Adrian Elliott

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a silent heart condition that affects 33.5 million people worldwide, but it is condition unknown by most Australians.

AF is a debilitating condition that affects the heart, making it beat out of rhythm – now groundbreaking research by Dr Adrian Elliott hopes to change this!

Dr Elliott is a physiologist and research scientist with an interest in the role exercise and interventions play on patients with AF.

Dr Elliott studied cardiac physiology in his hometown of London before pursuing research in Adelaide. Here, he has been collaborating with Professor Prashanthan Sanders, a leader in heart research who has received grants from AHR in partnership with The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF).

“We began looking at why athletes get AF, as mostly the condition is related to poor lifestyle and that’s where my interest in the role of exercise in AF patients came about,” Dr Elliott said.

Prof Sanders, Dr Elliott and their team are embarking on a clinical study called Active-AF, which is a randomised trial looking at 150 AF patients.

“We will provide a six-month exercise training plan for patients. They will come into our clinic once a week, then we will give them home exercises for 30 minutes per day; then we will follow them for a year after they finish the program,” Dr Elliott said.

“Along the way we are looking at how the heart responds to exercise and if there are any subsequent changes in the frequency and duration of AF episodes, as well as the symptoms experienced by patients.

“Ultimately we want to understand if exercise can reduce the burden of AF.”

This study is one of their largest and Dr Elliott believes it will provide an answer on how to use exercise to stop the burden of AF for sufferers.

To determine this, Dr Elliott and Prof Sanders will be focusing on the physiology of the heart and looking at how the heart’s function changes not only at rest but during exercise.

“We are hoping this study will improve the treatment of AF patients without the need for additional medications or complex procedures.”

If you have AF and are interested in participating in this study, please email contactus@ausheartresearch.com.au.

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