Long work hours escalates AF danger

Working long hours increases the risk of developing atrial fibrillation, British research shows.

Scientists compared people who work 35 to 40 hours a week with hard grafters who labour for 55 hours or more.

Over 10 years, the harder workers were 40% more likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation.

Statistical analysis showed that for every 1000 participants, an extra 5.2 cases of AF occurred among those working long hours.

Adjustment for potential confounding factors, such as obesity, risky alcohol use and high blood pressure, had little impact on this association.

Results from the study of 85,500 men and women from the UK, Denmark, Sweden and Finland are reported in the European Heart Journal.

"These findings show that long working hours are associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation," says lead researcher Professor Mika Kivimaki, of University College London.

"This could be one of the mechanisms that explain the previously observed increased risk of stroke among those working long hours,” he says.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, says the findings may explain why many patients develop AF without an obvious cause.

"The suggestion that longer working hours may be a cause of atrial fibrillation is very interesting,” he says. - PA

You can access the study here.