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

Avi Sabbag, Yechezkel Sidi, Shaye Kivity, Roy Beinart, Michael Glikson, Shlomo Segev, Ilan Goldenberg, Elad Maor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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/m2 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/m2 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-517
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Obesity
  • arrhythmia
  • exercise testing


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