Fluid overload is an independent predictor of atrial fibrillation in end-stage renal disease: A prospective study using insertable cardiac and body composition monitors

Clin Nephrol. 2020 Sep;94(3):127-134. doi: 10.5414/CN109997.


Background: Fluid overload and atrial fibrillation (AF) are frequently encountered in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). We used subcutaneously insertable cardiac monitors (ICM) to detect AF and associated it with the hydration status, determined with a body composition monitor (BCM) in dialysis patients.

Materials and methods: 69 patients were recruited. Fluid overload was defined based on BCM measurements as a ratio of overhydration (OH) and extracellular water (OH/ECW) of > 15% at baseline. AF episodes lasting ≥ 2 minutes were collected.

Results: 45 in-center hemodialysis patients, 11 on peritoneal dialysis, 12 on home hemodialysis, and 1 predialysis-stage patient were followed up for a median of 2.9 years (25th - 75th percentile 1.9 - 3.1). 29% were overhydrated at baseline, and the percentage remained similar throughout the study. Overhydrated patients had a lower body mass index, a higher prevalence of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) and diabetic nephropathy, higher systolic blood pressure, greater ultrafiltration (UF) during dialysis, and a smaller lean tissue index than normohydrated patients. Chronic or paroxysmal AF was known to occur in 20.3% at entry, and a further 33.3% developed AF during the study, with an overall prevalence 53.6%. In univariable logistic regression, OH/ECW > 15% was strongly associated with AF prevalence (OR 6.8, 95% CI 1.7 - 26.5, p = 0.006), as were UF, age, coronary heart disease (CHD), DM, and the echocardiogram-derived ejection fraction and left atrial diameter. In multivariable analyses, OH/ECW > 15% remained an independent predictor of AF alongside age and CHD.

Conclusion: The occurrence of AF is independently associated with BCM-measured fluid overload, which is common among ESRD patients.