Ann Glob Health
california; mission viejo
Background: Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia in post-industrialized populations. Older age, hypertension, obesity, chronic inflammation, and diabetes are significant atrial fibrillation risk factors, suggesting that modern urban environments may promote atrial fibrillation.
Objective: Here we assess atrial fibrillation prevalence and incidence among tropical horticulturalists of the Bolivian Amazon with high levels of physical activity, a lean diet, and minimal coronary atherosclerosis, but also high infectious disease burden and associated inflammation.
Methods: Between 2005-2019, 1314 Tsimane aged 40-94 years (52% female) and 534 Moseten Amerindians aged 40-89 years (50% female) underwent resting 12-lead electrocardiograms to assess atrial fibrillation prevalence. For atrial fibrillation incidence assessment, 1059 (81% of original sample) Tsimane and 310 Moseten (58%) underwent additional ECGs (mean time to follow up 7.0, 1.8 years, respectively).
Findings: Only one (male) of 1314 Tsimane (0.076%) and one (male) of 534 Moseten (0.187%) demonstrated atrial fibrillation at baseline. There was one new (female) Tsimane case in 7395 risk years for the 1059 participants with >1 ECG (incidence rate = 0.14 per 1,000 risk years). No new cases were detected among Moseten, based on 542 risk years.
Conclusion: Tsimane and Moseten show the lowest levels of atrial fibrillation ever reported, 1/20 to ~1/6 of rates in high-income countries. These findings provide additional evidence that a subsistence lifestyle with high levels of physical activity, and a diet low in processed carbohydrates and fat is cardioprotective, despite frequent infection-induced inflammation. Findings suggest that atrial fibrillation is a modifiable lifestyle disease rather than an inevitable feature of cardiovascular aging.
Rowan, Christopher J; Eskander, Michael A; Seabright, Edmond; Rodriguez, Daniel Eid; Linares, Edhitt Cortez; Gutierrez, Raul Quispe; Adrian, Juan Copajira; Cummings, Daniel; Beheim, Bret; Tolstrup, Kirsten; Achrekar, Abinash; Kraft, Thomas; Michalik, David E; Miyamoto, Michael; Allam, Adel H; Wann, L Samuel; Narula, Jagat; Trumble, Benjamin C; Stieglitz, Jonathan; Thompson, Randall C; Thomas, Gregory S; Kaplan, Hillard S; and Gurven, Michael D, "Very Low Prevalence and Incidence of Atrial Fibrillation among Bolivian Forager-Farmers." (2021). Articles, Abstracts, and Reports. 4424.