Obesity and exercise-induced ectopic ventricular arrhythmias in apparently healthy middle aged adults

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2016 Mar;23(5):511-7. doi: 10.1177/2047487315591442. Epub 2015 Jun 11.


Background: Obesity and overweight are strongly associated with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, there are limited data on the association between excess weight and the risk of ectopic ventricular activity.

Design and methods: We investigated the association between body mass index (BMI) and the risk for ectopic ventricular activity (defined as multiple ventricular premature beats (≥3), ventricular bigeminy, nonsustained ventricular tachycardia or sustained ventricular tachycardia) during exercise stress testing among 22,516 apparently healthy men and women who attended periodic health screening examinations between the years 2000 and 2014. All subjects had completed maximal exercise stress testing annually according to the Bruce protocol. Subjects were divided at baseline into three groups: normal weight (BMI ≥ 18.5 kg/m(2) and<25; N = 9,994), overweight (BMI ≥ 25 and < 30; N = 9,613) and obese (BMI ≥ 30; N = 2,906).

Results: The mean age of study subjects was 47 ± 10 years and 72% were men. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that the cumulative probability for the development of exercise-induced ectopic ventricular activity arrhythmias was highest among obese subjects, intermediate among overweight subjects and lowest among subjects with normal weight (3.4%, 2.7% and 2.2% respectively; p < 0.001). Multivariate binary logistic regression with repeated measures of 92,619 ESTs, showed that obese subjects were 33% more likely to have ectopic ventricular arrhythmias during exercise compared with subjects with normal weight (p = 0.005), and that each 1 kg/m(2) increase in BMI was associated with a significant 4% (p = 0.002) increased adjusted risk for exercise-induced ventricular arrhythmias.

Conclusion: Obesity is independently associated with increased likelihood of ectopic ventricular arrhythmia during exercise.

Keywords: Obesity; arrhythmia; exercise testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / diagnosis
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / etiology*
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Premature Complexes / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Premature Complexes / etiology*
  • Ventricular Premature Complexes / physiopathology