Exercise in Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia affecting 1-2% of the global population. In Australia, AF is now the leading cause of cardiac related hospitalisations surpassing that of myocardial infarction and heart failure. Up until recently the treatment of the condition has been centred around either rate or rhythm control strategies in the form of pharmacological or surgical approaches, however never targeting the underlying cause of the arrhythmia. Now, thanks to important data over the recent years, the target approach to treat the underlying source of the arrhythmia is now focussed on the risk factors that are known to predispose the condition such as; obesity, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnoea, type II diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia, alcohol and smoking. This new approach to focus on risk factor management has shown positive outcomes in the management of AF with a reduction in symptoms and burden, but also a reversal of the atrial substrate and subsequent reversal of the disease progression. Given this important emergence of risk factor management in AF, physical activity and exercise has also been receiving wide-spread attention given the role it can play in both the prevention and management of AF. Recent data has shown the positive effect higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness can have to prevent AF from developing, but also assist in the treatment of AF by reducing AF symptoms and burden. This online activity focuses on the relationship of exercise in the prevention and management of AF and aims to provide an important insight on the role exercise can play in this highly prevalent heart condition.
This is a recording of an ESSA webinar presented on 12 May 2022.
Presented by Dr Christian Verdicchio, BAppSci, GradDip, BHlthSci(Hons), PhD, AEP
Dr Christian Verdicchio is an accredited exercise physiologist (AEP) and clinician-researcher with extensive clinical, research and tertiary teaching experience in exercise physiology, cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias and heart failure. His research interests have focussed on assessing cardiopulmonary exercise testing and exercise interventions in patients with complex cardiovascular disease, and the physiological mechanisms promoting cardiac arrhythmias in endurance athletes. He completed his PhD in Medicine at the University of Adelaide under the supervision of Prof Prash Sanders and was awarded Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence for his PhD titled 'Exercise in Atrial Fibrillation'.
Dr Verdicchio is now the Heart Wellness & Cardiac Rehabilitation Manager at Macquarie Health overseeing all operational facets of the program across the group’s 10 privately owned hospitals between Sydney and Melbourne, whilst holding academic appointments at both the University of Adelaide and University of Sydney to continue with his research and supervision of higher degree research students. He is also the ESC European Association of Preventive Cardiology Young Ambassador for Australia.
Dr Verdicchio’s research has been accepted to present at the leading heart rhythm society, cardiology and exercise science conferences globally and nationally including the; Heart Rhythm Society, Asia-Pacific Heart Rhythm Society, European Heart Rhythm Society, European Society of Cardiology and Cardiac Society of Australia. He has been selected as a finalist in the Young Investigator Award category at the 2018 ESSA Research to Practice, the 2019 and 2021 ESC Preventive Cardiology congresses, and selected as a finalist for the Early Career Researcher at the ESSA Research to Practice conference in 2021.
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